This month marked the 355th shooting of the year. That’s almost one mass shooting per day, and the year isn’t over yet. Often it seems that perpetrators claim religion for a reason to take away our right as humans to be human. Understanding all of the different religious cultures in Spokane is a great start to combating the sense of hatred and misunderstanding that continues to grow.
Skyler Oberst, the president of the Spokane Interfaith Council, believes that in order to have a truly vibrant community we must all break down comfortable barriers. He explains, “to begin to understand how a person is, what that person dreams, you have to know what motivates them to get up in the morning. Whether that be a religion or politics, you must first know where they come from and what ideals they share.”
In a collaborative effort to celebrate all the different cultures that make up Spokane, the Community Building Foundation and the Spokane Interfaith Council are in the early stages of developing a Youtube series called Meet the Neighbors. The purpose of the series is to showcase the diversity that has always existed in Spokane . Each episode will be three to four minutes long and will encourage proper etiquette for engaging with different places of worship. The Interfaith Council’s goal is to do the research, or “homework”, for those who are interested in sharing their common humanity together.
Along with the web series, the Council will put on a workshop in conjunction with each episode. For example, it will be possible to watch a video about a mosque, visit the Islamic Center, and meet with workers from the Interfaith Council. After the worship has ended, everyone regroups, and representatives from the Council will talk briefly about the location of the next workshop. Currently, the Spokane Interfaith Council is hosting Meet the Neighbors, a six-month journey through Spokane’s religious landscape. With two episodes so far, look forward to more in 2016. For questions, contact the Spokane Interfaith council here.
Experiencing new religions is an opportunity to share new cultures and traditions with each other. Instead of letting our humanity being stripped away with acts of terror, let us share and live in it together. In the words of Desmond Tutu, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”