On August 11 local Jews and Quakers joined together to lead a powerful Multifaith Service of Lament and Public Worship with a Concern for Immigrants and Refugees. More than 200 people participated.
The Lament was part of a national effort that connected the 9th of Av (August 11th), the Jewish annual day of mourning over displacement, discrimination and murder of Jews through their history, with the experience of today’s immigrants.
The Quaker Public Worship with a Concern for Immigrants and Refugees invited participants to sit in silence to listen to the Spirit which guides human affairs and inspires both immediate words and future action.
Wednesday night, August 14, a guard at a for-profit ICE Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island drove a truck into a group of peaceful protesters from an organization called Never Again Action. Then a squad of prison guards came out and pepper sprayed them. Five people were hospitalized, including one person with a fractured leg. Those protesting were mostly Jewish community members demonstrating against the for-profit prison's contract with ICE and the inhumane and immoral immigration policies. Click here to read the NPR report and watch the disturbing video.
Never Again Action emphasizes that these assaults are just a small example of the horrifying violence that ICE uses against our immigrant neighbors every day.
To show support and solidarity, please read and consider signing this petition from Never Again Action calling for the closure of the Wyatt Detention Center and the immediate release of all ICE detainees.
August 20, 2019 "talking points" from Never Again Action organizers:
On July 12, 2019 MVPJ hosted a vigil on behalf of immigrants, children and refugees as part of the Lights for Liberty campaign. Click below to see more photographs of the event. Many thanks to Jack Owicki from Pro-Bono Photography who took these wonderful pictures!
Monthly Multifaith Prayers for Peace
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.
God of Compassion, this is not normal.
רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל תִּקוָה
To those we have lost, grant perfect rest under the sheltering presence of your love.
Unity and Solidarity Vigil
Marking the terrifying attack on pedestrians on April 23 in which the police say the driver may have targeted the victims based on their race and his belief they were Muslim, and the horrific shooting at Congregation Chabad Synagogue in Poway, CA on April 27, we gathered in Unity and Solidarity at the site of the April 23 incident. The vigil was a quiet, loving presence to acknowledge the pain and suffering of all people targeted by violence and hate, and to declare unequivocally that all lives are precious and we are all part of the same human family.
Thursday, May 2, was the National Day of Prayer*, and at this time our nation surely needs prayers for healing, respect in our diversity, and peace. Thursday was also Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to remember victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and to honor all victims of violence and pledge, "Never Again."
In pain and solidarity at yet more violence, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice offers both words and action. Our words are below, and our actions continue with the Thursday vigil.
Around the world the human family is grieving over the horrific terror attack that killed at least 49 of our Muslim brothers and sisters and wounded dozens more as they worshipped in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We at Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice share our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy with that community, especially the loved ones of the victims, and offer prayers for what comfort and healing they might find.
We also intensify our commitment to stand against all forms of hatred, drawing from the wellspring of love that animates the world’s faith traditions to triumph over bigotry based on race, ethnicity, or religion. Our traditions require our constant vigilance in confronting injustice, intolerance, division, and other evils with a love that we know ultimately wins.
Amidst the rubble of what was once a beautiful mosque in Afghanistan in 2002, a boy was rocking back and forth reciting a portion of the Qur'an. I sat next to him, reminded of how he resembled children in a Jewish synagogue from my childhood, rocking back and forth as they recited Hebrew prayers. The Imam walked over and lightly touched the boy on the shoulder. He stopped praying and looked up. The Imam told the boy that I was Jewish and asked him, "What do we call Jewish people?" The boy smiled at me and responded "People of the Book." "Very good," the Imam replied as he touched his heart. With a nod from the Imam, the boy resumed reciting prayers. Muslims refer to Jews and Christians as people of the book because we share common sacred texts, the Torah, the Bible, and for Muslims, the Qur'an.
Today, as people of the book, we grieve with our Muslim siblings and the entire human family over the tragic and horrific killings in New Zealand. Apparently inspired by White Supremacist hate exported from the United States, a killer went on a rampage, killing at least 49 people, as they prayed in mosques on Friday. We must stand up against hate and violence with all of our might and do all that we can to change the hearts of those who harbor such hate, while also doing all that we can to prevent such people from being able to cause such mayhem. May we instead be inspired by the smiles of young children, who instead of harboring hate, see our interconnectedness as a human race. We are not born with hate, we are taught hate. Our task, today, tomorrow and every day is doing all that we can to sow the seeds of love, acceptance, and peace, for what we sow we shall reap, Inshallah.
...your dinner guest makes an Islamophobic comment?
...you witness public instances of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Trans or any other form of oppressive interpersonal violence or harassment?
American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) has six thoughtful and helpful tips to counteract anti-Muslim rhetoric in your conversations.
They also have bystander intervention do's and don'ts for how to intervene in public situations while considering the safety of everyone involved.
Both articles provide guidelines that may be contrary to your first instinct, however noble those may be. These are important reads!
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II riveted those gathered at Stanford Memorial Church on January 17, 2019, with a call to not shrink back from the tasks at hand, and to liberate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. so fervently needed in our world today.
Did you miss it? Or hunger to hear it again? Click here for six minutes of excerpts from his speech.
Rev. Barber is the founder of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Renewal and Repairers of the Breach.