Women Transcending Boundaries Bringing Women of Faith Together after 9/11

January 1, 2017

Community Engagement

Filed under: — jeff @ 10:29 am

Individually and collectively, we are engaged in many activities to build community among people of various faiths and cultures. Interfaith Harmony Assemblies and Journeys to the Tent of Abraham build understanding and collaboration among people from local faith communities. Informal gatherings, potluck meals, international dinners, book club meetings, and booths at community fairs help build friendships. In an outreach to refugees starting a new life in Syracuse, WTB members offer sewing classes and helped establish a community garden. We marked anniversaries of 9/11 by giving back in our communities through A-OK! Acts of Kindness Weekends. We’ve collected donations for various local and international causes. Our Speakers Bureau welcomes invitations to share our stories; contact info@wtb.org to arrange for a speaker.

Walking on a Journey to the Tent of Abraham: An ambitious project, Journeys to the Tent of Abraham in 2007 and 2013 took people on a walking tour of many houses of worship in the Syracuse University area, from University United Methodist Church to Grace Episcopal Church, Temple Society of Concord, Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, Alibrandi Catholic Center, and the Islamic Society of Central New York, ending at Hendricks Chapel on the university campus.

Organizing A-OK! Acts of Kindness Weekends: WTB mobilized hundreds of people all across metro Syracuse to participate in A-OK! Acts of Kindness weekends on the anniversary of 9/11. A-OK! Weekend started in 2010 with a major community effort involving dozens of projects and people volunteering individually and in groups. We did all types of service projects from painting to park clean up to children’s events in 2010 and 2011. Read detailed reports from 2010 and 2011.

Participating in community fairs: We have sponsored booths at community events to promote interfaith and intercultural understanding, including at the InterFaith Works Duck Race, Westcott Street Fair, Plowshares Arts and Crafts Festival, and the Mary Nelson Youth Day Barbecue. In this way, we provide a living example of women from diverse faiths and cultures working together for a common purpose.

 

Launching a community garden: We joined with neighbors, refugees, and community groups in developing the Tapestry Community Garden on Syracuse’s north side. New Americans and neighbors readily claimed plots and planted the garden on Isabella Street. The site includes about 15 raised beds, where vegetables, herbs, and blossoms flourish! This garden has been a partnership among Syracuse Grows, the Northside Collaboratory, the Center for New Americans and others.

Building bonds with new Americans: In addition to offering sewing classes and working together in the community garden, WTB women spend time with new Americans building relationships through music, dance, crafts, games, and outings.

 

Visiting other groups: We have shared potluck meals at the Islamic Society of Central New York, with Muslim families joining people of other faiths around dinner tables for conversation followed by a question-and-answer session. We also attended events at the Ahmadiyya mosque, Sikh Gurdwara, Ska-nonh – Great Law of Peace Center, Turkish Cultural Center, Unity of Syracuse, and Zen Center, enjoying food and conversation afterwards.

Joining Mothers Against Gun Violence vigils: On Syracuse street corners where people have been shot and killed, we have joined in candlelight vigils organized by Mothers Against Gun violence to comfort grieving families and friends and to reach out to youth showing them that people care and that violence is not the answer. Tragically, as many as 30 people a year have died from gunshot wounds in Syracuse.

Meeting informally for dinner: Informal sharing and planning take place at our monthly gatherings, fondly known as “schmais,” at local restaurants. There’s no agenda and each of us pays for the food we order, but the laughter is contagious and the friendships are enduring.

Organizing an interfaith blood drive: We held an interfaith blood drive in 2009 with the slogan “Together We Give So That Others May Live.” More than 30 people signed in, and the Red Cross collected 29 pints of blood. Much blood has been spilled between religious groups, but through this event women from various faiths and traditions offered blood to save lives.

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