A few pictures from the event: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157674321116443/show
America is going through a major crisis at this point in history, and each one of the 325 million of us is stressed out. There is always the silver lining to such crises. Throughout our history, whenever we were pit one against the other; we chose to come together and found solutions to live with each other.
Right now, the White Americans are concerned about erosion of the values they hold dear with the influx of immigrants from different cultures, races and religions. They are worried about their place and role in the future of America. The African Americans are equally apprehensive with apathy of fellow Americans. Instead of understanding it as a movement to protest against the violation of their civil rights, the Black Lives Matter is attacked antagonizing the situation further. The undocumented aliens are worried about the possibility of their families being torn apart; they are concerned about doubling down of the wrong to correct the first wrong.
The woman’s right to decide about her body is under risk of being yanked out. The LGBT community is concerned with the State attempting to resurrect old disdainful attitudes towards fellow Americans. The rise of Anti-Semitism is deeply troubling and an increase of 9% in such hatred is severely affecting the fabric of our society. Muslims are worried sick about the dumb idea about Muslim registry, there again this year has recorded 67% surge in Islamophobia. It appears that no American is spared from bias from someone or the other.
Even the Native American’s inalienable right to water is jeopardized now. Dr. Harbans Lal of Arlington, Texas adds, “They were in a similar position as the White American now, when the migrants from Europe destroyed the Native American culture two centuries ago.”
We are a divided nation at this juncture, and we are committed to change it.
The divisiveness has caused us to lose trust in each other to function effectively as a nation. A nation’s strength to achieve peace, safety and sustain its prosperity hinges on two strong legs; the economic structure that puts food on the table of every American, and the social structure that maintains the cohesiveness of America.
Thanks to President Obama for leaving behind a strong economic structure, we have the lowest unemployment and highest degree of consumer confidence. However, the pre-election rhetoric has severely damaged the social structure of our nation. Whether you are on the right, left or the center, you are concerned about your liberties and freedoms, thus all Americans are living in anxieties.
Shall we wait for President Trump to put the derailed train back on the tracks? I would say, let the government stay out of our lives. If it cannot make our lives better, it should not mess it either. It is our responsibility to see that we get along with each other and preserve the social structure of America. Together we can bring stability in our lives.
Here is what we can to do to restore America where everyone feels included in the nation building. This is a pluralistic model of inclusiveness to restore faith in each other and rededicate our commitment to one America and one nation with liberty and justice for all.
We are Americans first with our own unique beliefs, cultures, ethnicities, abilities, sexual orientations, languages, traditions and other uniquenesses. All we have to do is come together as Americans, recognize and validate each other’s life.
We came together; a handful of volunteers took the bold initiative to set the model for a cohesive America in the years to come. The event was inaugurated by Rabbi Jack Moline, one of the most influential rabbis in America. He has served in numerous leadership positions for Jewish, interfaith, and community organizations, and has advised key religious and political leaders of the United States on issues of religion and values.
Each one of the following American Faiths was celebrated and or mentioned including but not limited to Atheism, Bahá’í, Buddhism, Christianity, Dao, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native Americans, Paganism, Scientology, Shinto, Sikhism, Tao, Unitarian, Wicca and Zoroastrian traditions.
When we live as neighbors, fellow workers, students, players, activists and inhabitants of the same city and same neighborhood, it behooves for us to learn about each other’s moments of celebrations and commemorations.
The more we know about the other, the less mythical they would become. Knowing in this instance implies knowing them personally and not hearing from those who have gains to be had by pitting one against the other or presenting false information about the other. One of the best ways to sustain America’s greatness is stick to our creed, “that all men are created equal” and that everyone’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness must be protected.
My safety and well being hinges on the safety and well being of others around me. It behooves for each one of us to work towards that goal, at the end every one of us would be better off.
Festival of Faiths was born out of a necessity. The apprehension that we see in each American about the other is not healthy for America’s harmony, peace and prosperity. As Americans, we are determined to go past the doom and gloom, and celebrate America.
American will always remain a great nation and a beacon of hope to the world; we are the lead civilization where we are working on respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us.
God Bless America and you can count on this event next year. We would expect to gather hundreds of Americans of from different races, religions, ethnicities and political spectrums to come together and celebrate the Festival of Faiths and Celebrate America.
Mike Ghouse is a community consultant and is committed to building a cohesive America. He offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. All about him is captured in 65 links at www.MikeGhouse.net