Bridge Building in our Nation's Capital
We were both very excited to be placed in our Nation’s capital for the Faiths Act Fellowship. Washington, DC is known as a place where young people who want to make a difference in the world and we couldn’t wait to see and contribute to the interfaith work happening here. In September, we dove right into our interfaith work by attending the 9/11 Unity Walk, a multi-faith walk that seeks to foster greater understanding of the world’s religions, promoting respect for each other through a framework of experiential education, compassionate leadership and intentional service.
The walk fired us up for interfaith work in DC, and we were especially touched to see so many parents and grandparents taking part in the activities. Both of us had only experienced interfaith at the college level, and previously considered the interfaith movement to be primarily a youth movement. Starting with our experience at the walk, we learned that interfaith work was not new to DC. There are well-established interfaith initiatives here, especially due to the history of our country and the work of a few key organizations weaving interfaith work into DC life. Most places of worship have existing interfaith efforts, so we, unlike some of our colleagues in other cities, did not need to make the case for why interfaith engagement is important.
At the same time however, a big part of our work over the course of the year has been to provide an energized youth perspective to some of the decades old interfaith traditions in the city. By providing a fresh perspective to interfaith institutions, we have been able to build bridges across generations in this movement and make it more relevant to a city full of young professionals, ready and eager to help create change. When it came time for our World Malaria Day Concert, we were especially delighted to see young professionals and seasoned DC interfaith leaders alike, reminding us again of the significant role each individual plays in strengthening this movement. Each heart, each mind, each voice brings a unique experience and story, and only by respecting and appreciating each other’s place in the world, can we successfully move forward toward achieving a common goal.
In our work this year as Faiths Act Fellows, building bridges between organizations, places of worship, and individuals has confirmed this power of multi-faith action in bettering the world. It is only by respecting and appreciating each other and the unique role we each play, working together across lines of difference, and allowing our experiences with others to further inspire us in our own journeys that we can successfully serve God and beat the problems that plague our planet.