In the midst of difficult times, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice will host “Peaceful Presence,” a monthly prayer service on the evening of the 11th of each month, offering a time of quiet multifaith prayers for peace and strength for the journey. All are welcome: those of all faith traditions and of no defined faith, those who are suffering at the hands of their own government, those who need a pause in the midst of intensive work on behalf of others, and all who would like to pray with others for the well-being of all. The prayer time will include elements from several religious traditions.
California Assembly Joint Resolution 33 (AJR 33) calls on our federal government and our nation to make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of our national security policy by embracing the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Update: AJR 33 PASSED ON AUGUST 28! Thank you for your work in supporting this step toward nuclear disarmament! Click here to read the press release with more information from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
This resolution is short and easy to read (click here for full text), and it gives us a rare opportunity to act. It is also easily summarized. It calls on our federal leaders to:
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice (MVPJ) stands in solidarity with immigrants and refugees fleeing violence and injustice in their own countries and strongly condemns our government’s current policy of detaining indefinitely all immigrants crossing our southern border. Fleeing violence and injustice is not a crime, and people seeking asylum should not be treated as criminals before their cases are heard and evaluated. They should instead be able to seek safe refuge in this country. Keeping children in prison-like conditions, even if with their parents, is inhumane and will cause long-term damage to innocent children. Every faith represented in the MVPJ family abhors such practices and teaches its members to love their neighbors, to help those in need, to be kind and compassionate to all.
While the Presidential Executive Order issued June 20, 2018 demonstrates that widespread, sustained religious, political and civic protest can have an impact, it does not solve the problem. It does not include any plan to reunite more than 2000 children who have already been forcibly separated from their parents, but leaves those children lost in a massive human rights nightmare. And it leaves in place the “zero-tolerance policy,” allowing children with their parents to be held in family prisons, perhaps indefinitely.
We hereby insist that our government immediately reunite those children and parents who have been separated from each other and establish a humane and expeditious process for immigrants crossing the border to apply for asylum. We call on government officials to listen deeply to the stories of these immigrants, to open their hearts to our common humanity, and to find a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to reforming our immigration system. We speak out in the name of all our Steering Committee members and their congregations of many faiths.
Many religious leaders and communities have decried the policy of separating parents and children, and now imprisoning both. Read below for a list of statements, and possibilities for action. Click here for a careful explanation of the June 20, 2018 Executive Order by the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker).
Please join in the prayers and pleas for compassion as shared by the Elijah Interfaith Institute:
"Saddened by the suffering of Rohingiya people, which has been added to the suffering of so many other human being during the last few weeks, we, Buddhist and Muslim Leaders, associated with the Elijah Interfaith Institute, as well as leaders of other faith traditions, invoke the timeless aspiration of humankind for compassion and love, and yearning for guidance, succor, and help from supra-human realms so powerfully captured in the two prayers below—one from Buddhist sources and the second from the opening chapter of the Quran. We wish to recall this common teaching and high moral and spiritual yearning of the human soul at this point in time, especially in view of the suffering of the Rohingiya Muslims who are being persecuted and are suffering due to policies of a Buddhist majority state."
O God of Many Names,
Mystery of all Creation,
Source of Life and Love,
You who teach our spirits to sing,
And our hearts to weep:
We gather to celebrate our oneness, to pray for peace, to stand for love, to light a candle -- in a nation and a world that seem filled with division, violence, hatred and darkness.
Give us courage to name and face the gaping wounds and evils around us:
The hatred that led to the attacks of September 11, 2001; the devastation and death of many innocent lives that day; the ensuing spiral of war, revenge and human rights violations, shattering lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and beyond, as well as lives of U.S. women and men in uniform, their families, communities, and friends.
Hatred and white supremacy – from Charlottesville to Palo Alto; xenophobia and bigotry that treat some people as disposable;
Nationalism that justifies war and torture, the build up of weapons of mass destruction, bans on Muslims and refugees, cruel immigration policies and the destruction of dreams;
Religious hypocrisy that denies the sacred image of God in each and every human being;
Ignorance that denies the real crisis of our planet, that offers weak platitudes rather than wise policies in the face of ecological catastrophe;
For all we do, and all we tolerate, that destroys the dreams of our children, of any child, for a chance to live in a just and peaceful world.
Many people asked about the wonderful poem written and read by Naiel Ahmed Chaudry (pictured left reading it at the picnic) during the Peace Picnic program.
"WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER"
... by Naiel Ahmed Chaudry
We can be boys and we can be girls
But altogether we'll shine like pearls
We can be black and we can be white
But altogether we'll have the might
We can be short and we can be tall
But altogether we'll never fall
We can be strong and we can be weak
But altogether we'll be unique
We can be poor and we can be rich
But altogether we'll make the switch
We can be fast and we can be slow
But altogether we'll make it flow
We can be right and we can be wrong
But altogether we will be strong!
We are collecting helpful resources from other organizations.
Here are some we have found so far:
Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Resource Guide - Great resource from Southern Poverty Law Center.
Do's and Don'ts for Bystander Intervention - A one page list of important guidelines from the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker organization).
Everyone here has constitutional rights, and that includes Muslims, immigrants and refugeees. The ACLU has Know Your Rights posters translated into 14 languages, and provides videos in Spanish, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi on what to do if stopped by immigrant agents or the police. Click here to access these important resources from the ACLU website, and share widely!
Knowing your rights is crucial, now more than ever.
This is a gift to you for today: WATCH THIS VIDEO AND BE TRULY INSPIRED.
In face of the darkness, Valerie Kaur shares the deep hope of her Sikh tradition as she speaks on December 31, 2016 at the National Moral Revival Campaign.
What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?
Valerie Kaur is filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, Sikh activist and interfaith leader. She is founder of the Groundswell Movement.
During a time when our immigrant neighbors are rightfully afraid to leave their homes, take their children to school, seek shelter from the cold, register for college, or seek medical attention, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when Jews and Muslims nationally and locally are targets of bomb threats, hate crimes, and desecration of sacred spaces, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when tens of millions of Americans rightfully live in fear that they will lose their access to health coverage, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when millions of people have fled their homes due to horrendous violence in places like Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Libya, and thousands of people drown trying to find refuge, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when these and many other forms of hate, violence, and injustice fill our inboxes, newspapers, social media feeds, and dinner table conversations, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray.
As people of faith we are called to:
And very importantly, as people of faith, we must do all of this and more in the name of our faiths, shining a bright light of hope that together, people of all faiths and no particular faith at all, can and will stand up for peace and social justice, and as we unite in that cause, we will grow stronger in love, a love that will be victorious.