Sight Magazine – In the United States, Doug Emhoff highlights black interfaith contributions during the launch of a new project

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Second Mr. Doug Emhoff praised the interfaith work of black faith communities to ‘save lives’ through the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and for his continued efforts to get the vote when he spoke at an event of Black History Month in the middle of the week.

“Over the past year, black faith communities have worked as trusted voices in their communities and communicated the right facts and information to their neighbours,” he said at an online event Wednesday. co-hosted by the White House and the Black Interfaith Project. “It led to millions and millions of people getting vaccinated.”

Second Mr. Doug Emhoff speaks at an online event co-hosted by the White House and the Black Interfaith Project, Feb. 23. IMAGE: video screenshot

As the Interfaith Youth Core project is launched with the goal of bringing together black religious leaders of all faiths for conversation and collaboration, Emhoff said his interfaith marriage to Kamala Harris, now the first black vice president , followed the discovery that their shared values ​​were entrenched. in their different denominations.

Fred Davie

Fred Davis.

“Faith and justice are very much linked,” said Emhoff, a Jewish man married to a Baptist woman raised by a Hindu family. “And as an interfaith family ourselves, we know that this same commitment to justice is a common thread that runs through so many different faiths.”

The event, the first after a year of meetings of black leaders representing religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, was the public launch of the project which includes clergy, scholars and practitioners .

“IFYC’s Black Interfaith Project recognizes the diversity of religious, spiritual, and philosophical expressions that have animated the Black experience in the United States,” said Reverend Fred Davie, senior adviser to the nonprofit interfaith organization. profit on racial equity. “Black Interfaith explores the dialogue between faith traditions and the building of bridges between faith groups and what this interfaith cooperation has meant for Black Americans as a community and for America as a nation.”

Rev. Yolanda Pierce, dean of the Howard University School of Divinity, noted at the event that black people have long been religiously diverse. About a quarter of those forced to flee US shores as enslaved Africans were practicing Muslims, while others followed African traditions and still others were practicing Christians, he said. she stated.

“We’ve always been in conversation, in partnership with each other, living with each other, marrying with each other, having families with each other,” she said. “We are the story of the rich religious diversity of Americans.”



Alia Bilal, deputy executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago, described how her organization seeks to foster interfaith relations through initiatives ranging from food to art.

Working with partners, he plans to open the Go Green Community Fresh Market after a long campaign that included a rally featuring his Muslim organization, a Hebrew Israelite hip-hop artist and a Pentecostal church on Chicago’s South Side. The store, which is expected to open in March, will offer fresh food but no pork or alcohol, unlike convenience stores and liquor stores – some of which are operated by Muslims and Arabs – in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods. city ​​black.

“IMAN has really harnessed faith to inspire the diverse sets of communities that make up our base and at times to agitate them to live up to those higher ideals that…we believe in,” she said. .

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Rabbi Sandra Lawson, who became the first director of racial diversity, equity and inclusion for Reconstructing Judaism in March, said she encourages congregations to recognize the “beautiful rainbow fabric of the Jewish people as the reconstructionist movement seeks to make the dismantling of systemic racism part of its strategic plan.

“The Jewish people have always been a mixed multitude of people, a diverse group of people,” said the leader of Judaism’s fourth-largest denomination. “Some of that history has been lost as Jews have lived in the United States, but, overall, Jews are brown.”

Jermira Trapp, a Buddhist practitioner and Chicago police officer, stressed the need to continue to have hope to bridge societal divides.

“A lot of the illusions of separation — which are race, gender, religion — are just meant to keep us fragmented and distracted from our true essence and really in disunity,” said Trapp, who joined Soka Gakkai International there. ten years ago. “So do whatever you need to do, pray the way you need to pray, so that you can have internal harmony, so that we can all live happily, collectively.”

IFYC recently received $1 million in support from the Henry Luce Foundation for the Black Interfaith Project and plans to spend the next four years, 2022-2025, bringing together professional Black fellows and hosting public presentations through partnerships with organizations such as the American Academy. of religion and the Smithsonian Institution.

Religion News Service occasionally partners with the IFYC, including through a Journalist Fellowship program.

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