The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom entered 2020 full of hope and energy, renewing our commitment to one another and to rising and responding to hate. Throughout 2020, sisters will be engaged in advocacy to change the tide of hate that surrounds us.
The New Year’s confetti in Times Square had yet to be swept away and, already, sisters were planning a coordinated response to a late December rash of acts of hate targeting Jews. Sisters hosted unity vigils and gatherings in towns and cities across the U.S. and Canada, prayed with their feet in marches, raised their voices through print media, and so much more, bringing forth a message of resilience, unity, love, and zero tolerance of hate.
At the month’s end, we convened a groundbreaking Building Bridges trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. There, 50 sisters witnessed the state of the U.S. immigration policies in person, met with local activists working on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers, volunteered at a local shelter, studied together, and returned home committed to changing the hateful policies targeting immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. We will be sharing our stories with you over the next months. Throughout the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, our sisters are joining committees to rise and respond to critical issues such as the Muslim crisis in China, increasing acts of hate targeting Muslims and Jews in North America and Europe, the immigration crisis in the U.S., and voter registration and engagement.
We are looking forward to an exciting array of programming in 2020, both at the Sisterhood-wide level and regionally. Save the date and read on for the first announcement of our 2020 annual gathering and an upcoming, regional get-together in the greater Maryland/Virginia/Washington DC area.
As always, we welcome your involvement and input. Please contact Samantha, Assistant Director, with any feedback or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sheryl Olitzky, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Unity Vigils 2020- The Sisterhood Rises Together and Responds to Hate
The end of 2019 saw an unprecedented wave of hate crimes marked at the start by a mass shooting at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City and culminating in a rash of acts of hate targeting Jews, including the stabbing of five people attending a Chanukah gathering in Monsey, New York. Spurred to action, chapters and members-at-large immediately came together and began planning a response. The result was a series of unity vigils, marches, letters to the editor, handwritten notes to victims, community healing services, and educational events designed to bring people together to show that love is stronger than hate. We led the way in being a model of interfaith unity and response.
In Washington DC, sisters held a healing circle and spoke at a unity rally. In central New Jersey, sisters from throughout the state organized a prayer vigil with involvement from all faith communities. In New York, sisters traveled from all over the country to march together in the No Hate No Fear Solidarity March from Brooklyn into Manhattan. Regional coordinators in Sacramento wrote a letter to the editor, decrying the hate crimes and highlighting the power of relationship-building to counter hate, and in Charlotte, women held a prayer service for peace. From Philadelphia to Georgia to Chicago to Houston to California, women joined hands to reassure each other, and to remind their communities that love and hope are greater than hate and fear. When one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. Only together can we heal that hurt.
Join us for a Greater Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia Regional Gathering
On Sunday, March 8, 2020, women from the greater DC, Maryland and Virginia area will come together for a day-long workshop and gathering, presented by Dr. Matthew Taylor of the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies. Using Matthew’s expertise, women will learn about local Evangelical groups and potential entry points for exchange and will collaborate with other area sisters to plan outreach to these communities. Sisters will leave confident in their capacity to forge connections with Evangelical communities and to work toward the goal of overcoming ignorance, negative stereotypes, and prejudice, and increasing understanding and cooperation. To learn more or to register, please follow this link.
Get Ready for our 2020 7th Annual Gathering!
We are excited to announce the date and location of our seventh, annual Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom gathering where we will get loud! Please save the date to join us November 13-15, 2020 at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania for three days of service, learning, and exchange. We will offer a day of community service to help refugees and asylum seekers on Friday, options for religious observance, socializing, and art projects on Saturday, a Saturday evening concert by a popular interfaith musical group, and a full day of keynote speakers, workshops, and time for gathering on Sunday! We will be coordinating transportation to and from the airport and train stations to the hotels and venue, as well as from the hotels to the university to make travel easier. We’ll be sending out registration information and details in the months to come, so please stay tuned and mark your calendar to join us!
Chapters are Growing from Coast to Coast!
As sisters continue to recognize the power of strong, Muslim-Jewish relationships, demand for our adult and teen chapters continues to grow. As one of our teens so eloquently said, “You don’t have to be just like your best friend to be best friends or to find joy in that friendship.” We’ve recently welcomed new chapters in places as diverse as Eugene, Oregon, Fremont, California, Houston, suburban Chicago, San Jose, and Minneapolis! Thanks to the support of our recent addition of volunteer regional coordinators, we expect that number to continue to grow. We invite these new chapter members to join existing chapter members and members-at-large as we come together, raise our voices, and share meaningful experiences in the year ahead.