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An Urgent Call to Build the Beloved Community

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

October 30, 2018


This past month, our nation witnessed horrific acts of violence that were clearly motivated by hate in the form of racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism.  We join others in mourning the loss of lives in Pennsylvania and Kentucky. We open our hearts to all who endured or were touched or terrorized by the tragic and senseless events of last week. The backdrop for these crimes is an American society which has, in recent years, witnessed a significant increase in the number of organized hate groups and a dramatic uptick in hate crimes and other acts of intolerance based on race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. For people of all faiths and justice seekers everywhere, this is not a time for complacency, wishful thinking, or fearful introspection. Instead, it is a moment when we need to collectively act – to work together to root out hate, bias, and discrimination and begin to heal the divisions in our communities.

Fifty-five years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. eulogized the loss of four innocent little girls whose lives were abruptly ended in another shameful hate crime. Dr. King’s words still ring true today. Dr. King pointed out that their tragic deaths had something to say to all of us. He reminded us that times like this require us to “substitute courage for caution.” He implored all of us not to “stand on the sidelines in the mighty struggle for justice.” He made it clear that we must be concerned not merely about who committed the heinous act, but also “about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.”

So what can you do to become part of this struggle for justice? Earlier this year, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) launched a new initiative called Building the Beloved Community. This initiative is geared toward harnessing the power of religious communities and faith-based organizations to address the growing intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination that persists throughout the New York City region. As part of this fair housing initiative, we have partnered with religious leaders, communities, and faith-based organizations representing people of all historic faith traditions who are dedicated to doing the hard work of creating a more just world. Today, we stand with our allies as we try to make sense of senseless violence and hate, and as we recommit ourselves to creating welcoming and inclusive communities for all.

You can become part of this initiative. To find out more, please go to our website and read about FHJC’s Interfaith Action Network. This is an opportunity for you and your faith community to work with others who have declared their intent to create more open, welcoming, just, and inclusive communities free of discrimination, bigotry, and hate.

We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines in times like this. We need to muster the courage to act now out of love, a sense of justice, and for future generations.  Only by acting together can we build the beloved community where we live. We hope you will join us in this work.