Multi-Faith Empty Bowl Dinner Closes New York’s Spring of Solidarity
On June 6, 2012 New Yorkers of at least 7 faiths gathered to support the Sikh community of Kenya in their efforts to feed the hungry in their region. The Empty Bowl Dinner closed the Spring of Solidarity, a four-month campaign of multi-faith activism on global health and hunger.
10 congregations joined the campaign, and collectively partook in one social justice endeavor per month throughout the spring. Those congregations were honored at Wednesday’s event (pictured right).
A short film was screened to celebrate the Spring of Solidarity. Watch it here!
To help others learn about the community we have called home this year as Faiths Act Fellows at UNITED SIKHS, a traditional langar meal was served. Attendees learned about the Sikh tradition of communal meals for all, regardless of class, race, gender or any other possible division.
Each attendee received a bowl from the Kenyan Sikh community to serve as an ongoing reminder of empty bowls around the world, and encourage a long-term commitment to multi-faith action against hunger.
We were honored to include the voices of many inspiring clergy throughout the evening. Ruth Wenger, leader of the N. Bronx Mennonite Church and New York Disaster Interfaith Services opened the evening, and the celebration ended with a reflection delivered jointly (at their request!) by Imam Shamsi Ali and Rabbi Michael Feinberg.
“You have not taught me Islam,” Imam Ali said to people of all faiths gathered in the room, “but you have taught me how to be a good Muslim. To be a good Muslim is to serve and care for others, and to understand all people. I have learned that from you this spring.”
The Empty Bowl Dinner not only generated the target $3,000 for Feed the Hungry - Kenya, but brought together diverse people of faith to reflect on the transformative power they can have when they unite for a cause.
We left the event much as we are leaving our year of work, uplifted by what we have accomplished and invigorated to keep bringing communities together to make change.