This weekend’s LEADD program was all about making connections. 26 youth and 12 adults from Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist faith perspectives lived, laughed and learned together for the weekend. We learned about our constitution’s first amendment guarantee of religious liberty and the ways it is being challenged, and we learned a lot about each other.
It was a risk to attend a program that would stretch our understanding of people whose religion and culture are different than our own. On many levels these encounters helped us to understand the pluralism that we live with every day. And the beautiful thing was that we learned how similar we are as well. All of us hope to live freely, to achieve our dreams, and to be who we ought to be.
Our identities matter to us all and having any one denied is not OK! The conflicts that arise in public and private life that threaten our identities are managed better when we know each other personally. I am who I am, and so are you! Together, we can enjoy a pluralistic world based on respect, appreciation and celebration of our diversity.
I want to thank the Interfaith Alliance and the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought for making this program possible here in Monmouth County. And thank you to these UUCMC adult leaders whose efforts made all this possible; Lynn Dash, Ann Sherwood, Andrew Sherwood, Petar Drackulich, Louise Ille and UUCMC youth participants; Lucas Franco, Ian Laudano, Nash Malko, Ben Murphy, Kristina Rastatter.
I am so proud to be a part of this interfaith effort!
Blessings and peace,