Religious leaders gather together to stand for refugees here and abroad

  • Published in Local

OWINGS - Nearly 150 leaders from across Maryland filled the Mt. Hope Community Center in Owings on the afternoon of Jan. 15 for the community interfaith dialogue: “Compassion for Our Neighbor: Standing with Refugees Here and Abroad.”

The event featured expert panelists, faith leaders, and round-table dialogues about the international and Maryland-specific situation of refugees and immigrants and today’s needed community response.

One panelist, Casey Leyva, the Associate Director of Resettlement for World Relief, shared the gravitas of the international situation: “In 2015 alone, 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes, the equivalent of 24 people during every minute of every day.

"This is the most number of people displaced since World War II. Only the most vulnerable refugees are eligible for resettlement in another country, and the United Nations, not the individual, decides where the refugees will be settled.”


Drawing on Faith and Citizenship to Build a More Perfect Union

Muslim Jewish  American symbols

In the United States of America, it is essential to exercise one’s fundamental rights and responsibilities as a citizen to ensure the health and vibrancy of our democracy.
The two of us take our responsibilities to be good citizens seriously, but differently. One of us is an elected official, believing that serving his state and now also his nation, is the best use of his talents and the surest way to effect change. The other is a philanthropist supporting causes that best reflect his values.
Both of us, one Muslim, one Jewish, strongly favor building bridges among communities of faith — and of no faith — of breaking down barriers, and promoting dialogue and understanding.


Combating racism

  • Published in Local

DD At Klan Rally in MarylandLocal musician Daryl Davis has unique way to combat racism. COURTESY PHOTO

Daryl Davis has spent most his life trying to answer one question: “How can you hate me if you don’t even know me?”

The 58-year-old African-American author, musician and actor from Silver Spring, has spent years studying, interacting and befriending white supremacists.

Since the presidential election of Donald Trump, who he said has energized white supremacists; Davis maintains the best way for people to confront racists is to talk with them face to face.

“The way I would challenge them is to invite them to the table,” he said. “Not shout at them but invite them to the table for a roundtable discussion.”


Mother joins forces with police for youth

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Takoma Park 20160925 180108Awa Sy, 8; Meaghan Murphy; Fatoumata Sy, 17; Saron Alemseged, 17; Kadidjatou Niare, 17; (the three teens volunteer for Takoma Park Recreation Dept.), Renay Johnson, Blair High School principal; Mayor Kate Stewart, and Captain Tyrone Collington of Takoma Park Police pose for a picture at Unity in the Community kickoff Sunday. PHOTO BY KATHLEEN STUBBS  

TAKOMA PARK -- Resident and business co-owner Meaghan Murphy has children who are of an ethnic minority, and said videos of incidents involving police brutality emotionally affect her on a personal level.

“When you watch these incidents between officers and community members, it’s hard because you ask, is that the only option?” Murphy said. “You don’t want the option to be a life lost, on either side ever.”

Murphy, whose husband is black, whose son is biracial and stepsons are African-American, said she never intended to start a citywide, police-community initiative when she sought the assistance of city government.

But that’s just what happened. The kickoff for the brand new initiative Unity in the Community was Sunday.

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