Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Indianapolis Star: “Faith, ethnic leaders: Do not give in to hate”

Stephanie Wang, Indianapolis Star November 18. 2016
Faith leaders and civic groups hold news conference on hate crimes

Sometimes it feels like the divides between us are growing.

A church is desecrated with a swastika and an anti-gay slur in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president. In schools, children taunt others to say they don’t belong.

“We are better than this,” said Tony Mason, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Urban League.

Blame it on politics, maybe, but the problems probably run deeper than that. We forget that we all want what’s best for ourselves, our families, our communities, Mason said. If we lose respect for each other, we lose a little humanity along the way.

“I challenge that the hate was always there,” said Jason Nolan-Doerr, interim executive director of Indy Pride, “and merely waited to be empowered to action.

“But we cannot give into that hate.”

Silence is not enough, said faith, ethnic and city leaders Friday morning at the Indiana Statehouse. Words are not enough.

Stand up, they pleaded. Stand up against intimidation, against bigotry, against hate.

“Our Latino community faces a new reality,” said Marlene Arellano Dotson, president and CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute. “A reality that is filled with anger, rage and visceral harassment.”

“Intolerance is pulsing through American society,” said Lindsey Mintz, executive director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.

We are “No Mean City,” Indianapolis deputy mayor David Hampton said. We are a welcoming, inclusive place.

If we cannot find a way to love each other, can we at least be civil? leaders asked.

Let’s uphold our constitutional liberties, said Rima Shahid, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, and remember our cherished American values of freedom and equality.

Her voice wavered as she spoke, then broke. She wiped tears from her eyes.

“Sister,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Capt. John Walton called after her later. Shahid turned, and he embraced her.

“Let me tell you something,” Walton said to her, a black man to a Muslim woman. “You do not have to be afraid.”

Call Star reporter Stephanie Wang at (317) 444-6184. Follow her on Twitter: @stephaniewang.


Comments ( 3 )

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  1. CIC November 20, 2016 Reply

    What a great picture, a civic all-stars photo.

  2. admin November 20, 2016 Reply

    More press coverage of the conference can be found at http://www.indianainterchurch.org/archives/2889.

  3. John Clark November 20, 2016 Reply

    This is important Cheers to everyone who made it happen!

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