Communities Take on the Cause: Spring of Solidarity Congregations Mark World Malaria Day in NYC
Throughout this spring season, 10 diverse New York City congregations are forming lasting partnerships by working together on global health and poverty issues. The Spring of Solidarity campaign is now in full swing, and in April each congregation has designed a way of marking World Malaria Day within its own walls. This is exciting to witness, as it shows that each community is taking ownership over the issue of Malaria and beginning to have an identity as a community committed to doing something about it!
The Jamaica Muslim Center (JMC) is a vibrant community center and mosque in the Queens borough of New York City. On Friday, April 13th, JMC members gathered by the hundreds for weekly Jummah prayer. After the communal prayers, Imam Shamsi Ali offered his khutbah (sermon) which was inspired by World Malaria Day and the community’s involvement in The Spring of Solidarity. Imam Ali cited teachings of Islam that call believers to care about social issues and about all of humankind, urging his listeners to take action against malaria. He drew special attention to Ihsan, the responsibility to do what is excellent or beautiful. After the moving khutbah, community members lived out the Islamic call for Ihsan and charitable giving: Individuals donated to the cause, and the mosque’s young women’s group sold delicious cupcakes and brownies to benefit the Faiths Act in Sierra Leone Program.
On Sunday, April 22nd, the Hindu Temple Society of North America hosted an event to jointly honor New York Immigrant Heritage Week and World Malaria Day. Against the backdrop of Immigrant Heritage Week, Hannah and I were able to show the important connection between local multi-faith efforts and global social justice. The day featured cultural arts such as Hindi music and Bharatnatyam dance performances, a video from the Mayor’s office about hate crimes in New York and importance of communities coming together, and a presentation from Hannah and me about the Spring of Solidarity and the importance of taking action against malaria. We received a great response about the importance of this issue.
These two World Malaria Day events alone raised around $700. Both of these communities, along with the 8 other member congregations, will continue to be involved with the Spring of Solidarity through our service day on May 3rd and final Empty Bowl Dinner event on June 6th.
Nomi Teutsch and Hannah Shirey