Standing Together RVA
In response to increasing Islamophobia, xenophobia, and divisive rhetoric, “Standing Together” is an initiative to bring diverse groups in Richmond together to speak out and stand with the Muslim community and others who are marginalized. To date, components include:
- “We Stand Together” Pledge
- “Standing Together” RVA Community Gathering (December 4, 2016)
- “Standing Together” Interfaith Press Conference (December 1, 2016)
- “Standing Together” at the University of Richmond (September 9, 2016)
- “Religious Diversity and Immigration in Virginia” at the Library of Virginia (June 21, 2016)
- “Standing Together” at Virginia Union University (April 21, 2016)
- “Standing Together” at Salisbury Presbyterian Church (April 19, 2016)
- “Standing Together” at Randolph-Macon College (March 6, 2016)
- Public “Standing Together” Event (January 10, 2016)
- “Standing Together” Interfaith Press Conference (December 17, 2015)
- Press Conference with Senator Mark Warner (December 11, 2015)
- Educational Resources
- #StandingTogether Social Media Campaign
On December 27, 2015, a full page advertisement was placed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that shares a joint statement titled “We Stand Together,” followed by the names of over 130 individuals and institutions that have committed their support. The statement reads as follows:
Our diverse religious and social teachings lead us to come together at this time with one voice to condemn bigotry in public discourse.
In particular, we denounce the recent rise in Islamophobia and xenophobia that tear down our fellow humans and build up divisions between people. Recognizing that all of us are at risk when one group is unjustly targeted, we stand with our Muslim friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and all who are unjustly vilified as “the other.” These individuals serve Virginia as citizens, teachers, police officers, medical workers, tradespersons, community leaders, mothers, and fathers. We reach out in this moment with a shared commitment to justice, compassion, love, and peace.
At a time when feelings of fear and vulnerability may be heightened, we call on public figures, private citizens, and media outlets to always speak and act with respect and sensitivity. Religion should never be a wall that separates people from this land, from their neighbors, or from their hopes and dreams.
This Commonwealth proclaimed its commitment to the freedom of religion nearly 230 years ago with the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. We affirm the ideals of this groundbreaking document by working to build more respectful, pluralistic, and inclusive communities.
Today and in the future, we pledge that in the Richmond region and beyond, we stand together.
- Click here to add your name in support of the “We Stand Together” pledge
- View the names of all who have signed on to the pledge to date
The community came together to learn, share, and show support on Sunday, December 4 at 3:30pm at Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church. This gathering was an opportunity to stand together with those who have increasingly been targeted and marginalized, and to demonstrate concern about the recent rise in hate speech, bias, and division. The program included speakers, sharing, and small group dialogues.
- How ‘Small, Simple, Day-to-Day Gesture’ Supports Diversity (WTVR CBS-6)
- Standing Together (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Va. Center for Inclusive Communities Holds Support Rally at Jackson Ward Church (Richmond Free Press)
Organizers of this effort included representatives from Bon Secours Richmond Health System, the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Richmond Hill, Richmond Peace Education Center, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, Temple Beth El, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Virginia Council of Churches, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs.
40 religious and organizational leaders gathered at Temple Beth-El on December 1, 2016 for a “Standing Together” press conference. Speakers included Imam Ammar Amonette, Father Shay Auerbach, Ms. Randee Humphrey, Rev. Rodney Hunter, Rabbi Michael Knopf, Rev. Michael Moore, Dr. Archana Pathak, and VCIC President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur. All in attendance shared in reading “A Pledge to Stand Together,” led by Rev. Lauren Ramseur.
- Remarks at Interfaith Standing Together Press Conference (Rabbi Michael Knopf)
Organizers of this effort include representatives from Bon Secours Richmond Health System, the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Richmond Hill, Richmond Peace Education Center, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, Temple Beth El, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Virginia Council of Churches, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs.
A “Standing Together” event took place on September 9 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the University of Richmond. The program explored interfaith understanding 15 years after 9/11. The program included an interfaith panel.
As a complement to “First Freedom: Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom,” the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities co-hosted a panel discussion exploring the intersection of religious freedom and immigration, focusing on how the concept of religious freedom informs or influences an immigrant’s perceptions of citizenship. This program took place on June 21 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm and was made possible through a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
A “Standing Together” event took place on April 21, 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:30pm at Virginia Union University’s L. Douglas Wilder Library Lecture Hall. The program included an interfaith panel and discussion.
A “Standing Together” event took place on April 19, 2016 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm at Salisbury Presbyterian Church (13621 W. Salisbury Road, Midlothian). The program included an interfaith panel and discussion.
A “Standing Together” event took place on March 6, 2016 in the Blackwell Auditorium at Randolph-Macon College. The program will include an interfaith panel and facilitated small group discussions.
Over 600 people attended a “Standing Together” gathering on January 10, 2016 at Congregation Beth Ahabah. The program featured speakers, a panel discussion, and community conversations.
- Religious, Political Figures Share Message of Unity During Turbulent Times (WTVR CBS-6)
- ‘Standing Together’ Promotes Understanding, Fights Prejudice (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- In Wake of Terror Attacks (Richmond Free Press)
Nearly 100 religious and organizational leaders gathered at the Islamic Center of Virginia on December 17, 2015 for a “Standing Together” press conference. Speakers included Imam Ammar Amonette, Rabbi Dovid Asher, the Rev. Dr. Brian K. Blount, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, Rabbi Ben Romer, Priest Rajagopal Thuppal, Rev. Janet Winslow, and VCIC President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur. All in attendance shared in reading “A Pledge to Stand Together.”
- Richmond-Area Interfaith Groups Unite in Support of Muslim Community (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Religious Leaders Pledge to “Stand Together” with Richmond Muslims (WRIC ABC-8)
- FBI Partnering with Richmond Muslim Leaders in War on Terror (WWBT NBC-12)
- Interfaith Gathering Shows Support for Muslims, Understanding, Peace (Community Idea Stations)
- Bishop Cho Joins Area Faith Leaders to Support Muslim Community (The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church)
- Commentary: Are ‘They’ ‘Bad People?’ (The Catholic Virginian)
Senator Mark Warner convened a small group of religious and organizational leaders on December 11, 2015 at the First Freedom Center, the site where the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.
Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities Richmond Chapter M. Imad Damaj and President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur were among the invited participants. Following a private meeting with the Senator to discuss Islamophobia and ways to improve interfaith relations, a press conference was held with comments from each participant.
- Press Conference Photos
- “Dozens Rally to Show Support for Islamic Center of Virginia in Bon Air” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
To learn more about diverse religious groups, here are some educational resources:
National & International Organizations
- Interfaith Youth Core
- North American Interfaith Network
- Parliament of World Religions
- Pluralism Project at Harvard University
- Ravel Unravel
- Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute
- Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan College
- Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond
- Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
- Valentine First Freedom Center
- Voices of Faith Interfaith Dialogue
[These suggestions are intended for use by adults. Their listing on this page does not imply endorsement by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities of all content included therein.]
Download the poster template (11×17 version or 8.5×11 version) or contact the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to get a poster. You can then print the template, write down how you will stand together, and take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
Post your picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #StandingTogether, and tag VCIC:
- Facebook – Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities
- Instagram – @inclusive_va
- Twitter – @inclusiveva
Together, let’s show the world that we are all #StandingTogether.