We are reaching out to people of various faiths and cultures here in the Syracuse area in a living example of diverse women working together for the betterment of our community.
Sewing classes for new Americans: We have been teaching several eight-week sewing courses for new Americans each year since 2010, and graduates receive donated sewing machines and supplies. Students have come from various countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and in each class they sew a practical item for their home or themselves. We expect to resume classes in September. For more information, call Jennifer Crittenden at 315-633-2817.
World Interfaith Harmony Assemblies annually since 2011: We celebrate UN World Interfaith Harmony Week (the first week of February) with annual World Interfaith Harmony Assemblies that showcase the diverse faith communities in the Syracuse area. Organized by WTB and InterFaith Works, they been hosted by a different place of worship each year.
Interfaith Dinner Dialogues: We join InterFaith Works of Central New York each September in dialogues that bring together diverse groups of 8-12 people around a simple vegetarian dinner in a host home for friendly, facilitated conversation about faith and spirituality. Each year WTB women host, facilitate or attend one of the dozens of events in the Syracuse area.
Visiting other groups: We have shared potluck meals at the Islamic Society of Central New York and participated in events and dialogues at the Ahmadiyya mosque, Jewish Community Center, Sikh Gurdwara, Ska-nonh Great Law of Peace Center, Temple Concord, Turkish Cultural Center (now CNY Rise Center), Unity of Syracuse and the Zen Center, gaining understanding and building relationships. Members join in the annual Thanksgiving Circle at Onondaga Lake organized by Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. Our annual Interfaith Assemblies are hosted by a different faith community each year.
Journeys to the Tent of Abraham in 2007 and 2013 took people on a walking tour from University United Methodist Church to Grace Episcopal Church, Temple Concord, Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, Alibrandi Catholic Center, and the Islamic Society of Central New York, ending with an interfaith presentation at Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University campus.
A-OK! Acts of Kindness Weekends: We mobilized hundreds of volunteers all across metro Syracuse to participate in A-OK! Acts of Kindness weekends on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2010 and 2011. These major community efforts involved dozens of projects throughout the city and other parts of the county.
Community fairs: We have sponsored booths and activities to promote interfaith and intercultural understanding at annual community events in Syracuse such as the InterFaith Works Duck Race to End Racism, Westcott Street Cultural Fair, Plowshares Crafts Fair and Peace Festival, and the Mary Nelson Youth Day Back-to-School Barbecue. In this way, we provide a living example of women from diverse faiths and cultures working together for a common purpose.
Community garden: We joined with neighbors, refugees, community groups, and SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry in developing the Tapestry Community Garden on Isabella Street as part of Syracuse Grows’ network of community gardens bringing people together to grow healthy food in the city of Syracuse. On fifteen raised beds, new Americans are working together growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
Building bonds with new Americans: In addition to the sewing classes and the community garden, WTB women have sponsored refugees as well as teaching them English and how to market their crafts. We spend time with new Americans building relationships through music, dance, crafts, games, and outings.
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 show that people care. Tragically, as many as 30 local people a year die from gunshot wounds.
Interfaith blood drive: We held an interfaith blood drive in 2009 with the slogan “Together We Give So That Others May Live,” collecting 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.