Three members of the Interchurch Community took the lead in organizing a press conference at the Indiana Statehouse on November 18th. The Jewish Community Relations Council, the Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation joined several other organizations to speak out against the growing number of hate incidents in Indiana. At the press conference, these groups released a statement that was printed in the Indianapolis Star on Sunday November 20. your congregation or organization is welcome to add your signature.
If you would like your congregation or organization to be a signatory to this letter, please contact John Clark at email@example.com.
Faith & Ethnic Communities Stand Together Against Acts of Intimidation and Hate
November 17, 2016
Indiana is currently experiencing a rising tide of hateful rhetoric and actions. Swastikas and other symbols of antisemitism are appearing across the state. Latino children are brought to tears by the cruel taunts of classmates demanding they be forced out of the country. St. David’s Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom was defiled by anti-gay graffiti. Muslim women endure crude jeers because they cover their heads with hijabs, while nearly all Muslims feel anxious about being targeted. Racist insults such as “Black lives don’t matter” are being spray-painted at schools. Acts like this are meant to terrorize entire communities, and the list is growing every day.
We will not allow this climate of intimidation and intolerance to become the “new normal” in our state. More than simply condemning the words and acts of bigotry, we commit to standing alongside one another, to standing up for one another, and to working together to support frightened Hoosiers.
Although our political views may differ, we can all agree that children shouldn’t live in daily fear that their families will be torn apart. Although our religious traditions may differ, we can all agree that no group should feel threatened for practicing their faith. Although we have may have different ethnic backgrounds, we can all agree that racism diminishes the quality of life for everyone in the community.
It is incumbent upon every Hoosier to model behavior worth emulating by our children: that when we see intolerance or hatred directed toward anyone, we make our voice for peace and respect one that echoes loudly over the voices of hatred.
It may feel like religious, political, cultural, and ethnic differences are tearing at the fabric of who we are as a nation. We disagree. Our differences can – and do – make us stronger as a community and better as individuals.
We invite all Hoosiers to join us in standing against intimidation and hatred. A first practical step in doing this is starting a respectful conversation with – and listening to – someone who may be different from you. If we all do this, then we will be building the bridges of understanding among us, and over the seeming divides.
- Rima Shahid, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana
- Lindsey Mintz, executive director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
- Jason Nolan-Doerr, president of Indy Pride
- Tony Mason, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Urban League
- Marlene Arellano Dotson, president and CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute
- Terri Morris Downs, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Center
- Charlie Wiles, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation
- Glenn Tebbe, executive director of Indiana Catholic Conference
- Pastor Bruce Garrison, The Dwelling Place Christian Community
- Rev. Anastassia Zinke, All Souls Unitarian Church
- John W Samples, president of the Christian HolyLand Foundation
- Rabbi Dennis C Sasso, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck
- The Rev. Canon Bruce W Gray, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis
- Erin Polley, American Friends Service Committee
- The Rev. Julia E. Whitworth, Rector Trinity Episcopal Church of Indianapolis
- Angie Taylor, CEO of Tangram
- Dr. Kimberly M. Martin, Clinical psychologist
- Indianapolis Star, “Faith, ethnic leaders: Do not give in to hate”
- Fox 59 News, “Local leaders speak out against hate crimes”
- WIBC News, “Racial and Religious Minority Groups Call for Unity, Hate Crimes Law”
- Indiana Public Media, “Religious, Cultural Group Leaders Meet To Condemn Intolerant Acts”