Standing Together RVA

 

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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

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.

 

 

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“Religious Diversity and Immigration in Virginia” at the Library of Virginia (June 21, 2016)

As a complement to First Freedom: Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom, the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities will co-host 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.  The program will be hosted by the Library of Virginia on June 21 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.  This program is made possible through a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The public is invited to attend this free event.  Pre-registration is required.

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“Standing Together” at Virginia Union University (April 21, 2016)

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.

 

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“Standing Together” at Salisbury Presbyterian Church (April 19, 2016)

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.

 

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“Standing Together” at Randolph-Macon College (March 6, 2016)

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.

 

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Public “Standing Together” Event (January 10, 2016)

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.

 

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Educational Resources

To learn more about diverse religious groups, here are some educational resources:

National & International Organizations

Virginia Organizations

 

[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.]

 

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#StandingTogether Social Media Campaign

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:

Together, let’s show the world that we are all #StandingTogether.

 

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“Standing Together” Interfaith Press Conference (December 17, 2015)

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.”

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Press Conference with Senator Mark Warner (December 11, 2015)

12369211_10153913515947275_8162080312508784378_nSenator 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.

 

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