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Things Communities can do to Ease the Pain and Stop Continued Violence, ASDC

This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any):

This list is a compilation of events, activities, and information that are related to the recent attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the backlash against Arabs and other Muslims. This information was sent to the Association for the Study and Development of Community from different sources across the country .We have organized it according to the major settings in which you can organize a response and any assistance, stories and articles we that we received and are circulating via internet, and other facts and information. For more information, you can contact the resources listed directly. It is particularly important to target young people as part of the strategies. They are often the perpetrators and victims of backlash and retaliatory actions. Communication with young adult and teenage males is very important. If you would like to tell us about what your community or organization is doing, please contact Kien Lee, Senior Research Associate, ASDC, 301-519-0722, ext. 108 (phone); 301-519-0724 (fax); or kien@capablecommunity.com. We will regularly update this list.

SCHOOLS

Educating young people about Arab Americans and the Islam religion to prevent them from making unfair judgements.

Examples and Resources:
• An educator introduced her class predominantly Jewish and Christian students to Islam during a visit to a mosque in Atlanta. See http://www.tolerance.org/teach/expand/mag/
• Educators for Social Responsibility has developed a free guide called "Talking to Children about Violence and other Sensitive and Complex Issues in the World" (http://www.esrnational.org.). At that site in the second paragraph is the phrase "free lessons". When you click on that go to "Suggested Lessons for Teachers Following the Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
• The Public Broadcasting System has the following lesson plans on line at (http://www.pbs.org/americaresponds/educators.html) : "A World at Peace" (for grades 2-6); "Tolerance in Times of Trial" (for middle and high school students); "Taming Terrorism" (a lesson plan for high school students). The New York Times has a lesson plan for grades 6-8, 9-12: (http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20010912wednesday.html)

Establish a school team that can be responsible for contacting school superintendents and principals to find out what they are doing to help the children and to offer a facilitated discussion for the children to talk about the incident. The team should include, at a minimum, an expert facilitator (with conflict transformation skills), mental health professionals, law enforcement, and be composed of diverse individuals of different faiths. Make sure your school systems have such a system in place or help them form one. Presentation and materials addressing hate issues as well as dispelling myths are particularly import resources.

Examples and Resources:
• "Understanding Stereotypes" on www.discovery.com —classroom activities to help students understand how assumptions about different cultures create stereotypes and how these biases affect our lives
• "Small Steps: A Tolerance Program" on www.tolerance.org helps students examine how name calling and stereotypes advance bigotry and led to violence.
• The National Association of School Psychologists has a manual entitled "Cultural Perspectives on Trauma and Critical Response" that explains how manifestations of trauma and distress differ among cultures and how commonalities can be found on which to build a foundation of communication and trust. http://www.naspoline.org/NEAT/neat_cultural.html
• "Reactions and Guidelines for Children Following Trauma/Disaster" see www.apa.org/practice
• Local Arab and other Muslim leaders are convening the police department and school districts to develop a strategy for preventing violence in the schools.

FACTS ABOUT ARABS AND MUSLIMS

Distribute information about Arabs and Muslims in your classroom, your workplace, etc. to dispel myths about Arabs and Muslims.

Resources:
www.tolerance.org has a package that includes fact sheets about Arab Americans and Islam.
• Arab-American Institute at www.aausa.org or 202-429-9210
• The Council on American-Islamic Relations at www.cair-net.org or 202-488-8787
• American Muslim Council at www.amconline.org or 202-789-2262
• A live chat hosted by ABCNews.com with Al-Haaj Ghazi Kahkan, the Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Islamic Center of Long Island and Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. For the transcript, go to www.ABCNEWS.com and click on the icon in "community," look for "Featured Chat Muslim Leader on Backlash."
http://www.freep.com/jobspage/arabs/index.htm provides a journalist guide with information about Arabs and Muslims.

MEDIA AND PUBLIC EDUCATION

The media plays a powerful role in giving hope and delivering the message that we should not encourage more violent incidents among ourselves. Media campaigns will reach the largest audience in the least amount of time. The local media should have coverage on the Arab and Muslim community in the local region and the positive outreach that Americans are demonstrating to each other and to their Arab and Muslim friends. It is critical to have a multi- faceted media campaign that includes radio, TV, and print media. Promote positive images of Arabs and Muslims, address misconceptions (e.g. that violence and dying are considered "holy" acts). Discuss what liberty and justice for all really means. Here are some suggestions for addressing this:

1. Organize a media response team for the metropolitan area to coordinate the effort (e.g., contact a reporter to cover a story, reach out to media sources that are not addressing these issues) and to contact public figures and immigrant ethnic leaders to speak out. 2. Contact a media campaign strategist to assist you in the planning. People with experience with political campaigns know how to get the messages out quick. 3. Have contacts in the newspapers, radio, etc. that reach the metropolitan and suburban areas and that can be reached immediately to cover a positive event or story (e.g., a vigil, a contribution to a local mosque, etc) 4. Have contacts in the radio stations targeted at youth (especially the male 16-21 age group) and put out messages by leaders, public figures, local celebrities, etc. Find a local role model or public figure to help deliver the messages. 5. Compile the positive stories and "buy" spots in these papers to publish stories under the theme "Liberty and Justice For All" to show that the Arabs, Muslims, and other Middle Easterners are a part of all of us. 6. Ask the papers to publish a series of articles about the Middle Eastern community in the metropolitan area and in the U.S. (e.g., the meaning of jihad; the traditions of the Middle Eastern community). Encourage them to profile individual members of the Muslim community and the impact the World Trade Center has had on them (i.e., loss of relatives, primary or secondary loss of business, etc.) This will sustain the momentum and messages and not let it be a one-time event in the media.

Examples and Resources:
• American Friends Service Committee is launching a "No More Victims" campaign. Call AFSC at 215-241-7000 for further information. To contribute to the campaign, call 1-888- 588-2372, ext. 1.
• WBCN's Boston Sunday Review will interview Merrie Nejamy of the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee on September 16.
• http://members.aol.com/hrtrainer/guide-for-media.html — resources for addressing violence in the workplace
http://www.infosubway.org/infosubway/platforms.html — contact information for radio stations and other media outlets
www.kidsnet.org -- describes upcoming programs on public, commercial and cable television networks for children, families and educators referenced by air date, curriculum areas, grade levels, supplemental materials, related multimedia, off-air taping rights, and sources for more information. Selected programming is targeted to children ages preschool through high school.

COMMUNITY

Discussion Groups

The Study Circles Resource Center will post resources on their website that you can use to conduct study circles on the event, terrorism, and other related topics. See www.studycircles.org

Coalitions/Response Teams

Form a coalition or team made up of diverse organizations and faith groups to help organize rallies, vigils, and to denounce attacks against Arabs and other Muslims. Show visible signs of support for Muslim and Arab residents and noticeable statements that attacks are "Un- American." Encourage public officials and celebrities to make statements condemning violence, verbal or physical, against more innocent people.

Examples:


• A peace coalition has been formed in Atlanta that includes the Georgia Green Party, the American Friends Service Committee, and Amnesty International.
• The Boston Coalition for Palestine Rights organized a talk "Jerusalem Women Speak" on September 27 (7-9 pm). Rawan Damen, a Muslim Palestinian and writer, Michal Shohat, a Jewish Israeli and General Secretary of the Meretz Party, and Jean Zaru, a Quaker Palestinian and Presiding Clerk of the Ramallah Friends Meeting—all daughters, mothers, and grandmothers working for peace and justice for all the people of Palestine and Israel—will participate.

Vigils and Other Community Gatherings

Organize vigils, prayers, and reflections to bring together people together, especially to demonstrate support from the Arab and Muslim community and their denouncement of what has happened (i.e. help Muslim and Arab communities visibly demonstrate their outrage and positive feelings toward the US). Make sure the media covers these events.

Examples:


• In Boston, vigils are being organized by the American Friends Service Committee to occur in public places on different days. The committee that organized the vigils will meet with staff from Senator Kerry and Kennedy's offices.
• The Arab and Muslim community in New York is hosting a vigil, prayer, and reflection on September 16. For further information, contact the Arab-American Family Support Center, Inc. at 718-643-8000 or aafsc@aol.com
• The Latino community in the Washington metropolitan area organized a vigil on September 18 at the stadium of a high school. The leader of a major Latino church will be attending and local radio stations will be promoting it.
• The Muslim community in San Diego organized a blood drive at a local mosque.

Videos

African Friends Service Committee's Video and Film Library has videos and films about nonviolence and background related to the current crisis. See www.afsc.org/nero/nevlib.htm.

Public statements

Create Hate-Free Zones. Distribute and put up posters that declare areas hate free. For example, San Diego's Global Exchange is conducting this strategy. For more information, contact Global Exchange at 415-255-7296.

Distribute flyers with resource and other educational information through groups and places that reach as many people as possible. For example, The Citizens Committee of New York City is working with Cab Watch, a citywide safety association for cab drivers, to distribute thousands of flyers with a resource list for their passengers. Most of the drivers are Muslims and it is also a way to promote positive action by them and other immigrants. Contact Bill Chong at 212-989- 0909 or bchong@citizensnyc.org.

FOUNDATIONS/FUNDERS

Establish an emergency fund to help volunteer groups, schools, and other organizations coordinate responses. For example, the Citizens Committee of New York City created the September 11th Unity Grants to provide funds for emergency relief projects, support projects, and unity projects. For more information, please contact Bill Chong at bchong@citizensnyc.org or call 212-989-0909, ext. 411.

OTHER

Coordinate prayer services in hospitals, nursing facilitates, and other social service and educational institutions

Send letters and emails to Congress and the press to express the need to prevent scapegoating and to protect our civil liberties and human rights.

Host neighborhood meetings to listen, talk, and support residents

COMM-ORG is publishing a series of articles, etc. Go to http://comm- org.utoledo.edu/pipermail/announce/2001-September/subject.html.

The Center for Multicultural Human Services is sponsoring a play by Ping Cong that looks at how do we "open the doors to immigrants and refugees and leave no room for hatred." The proceeds from the play will support programs that help those affected by this tragedy. If you would like more information, contact the Center for Multicultural Human Services @ @ 703-533- 3302, x-180.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT ARABS AND OTHER MUSLIMS

This information was put together by MOSAICA, www.mosaica.org or (202) 887-0620.

ARAB AMERICANS

According to a recent article in "Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia" on Arab Americans by Helen Samhan (Spring 2001), Arab Americans trace their roots to 22 countries in Africa and Asia that share a common language and heritage. Arab Americans are of many religions. The majority of Arab Americans are Christian -- Eastern Orthodox (e.g., Greek Catholic, Maronite, Coptic, Assyrian, and Chaldean), Roman Catholic, and Protestant -- but Muslims are the fastest growing segment of the community. The large majority of Arab Americans are native-born Americans, and 82% are U.S. citizens.

The first large wave of Arab immigration to the United States began in the 1880s and continued into the early 20th century. The second began after World War II and has continued to the present. While the 1990 Census counted about 870,000 Arabs, the 2000 population has been estimated at anywhere from 1 to 3 million. The Arab American Institute (AAI) believes there are about 3 million Arab Americans.

AAI explains that Arab Americans were undercounted in the 1990 Census, as were many other ethnic, minority, and immigrant populations. Because being of Arab heritage is an ethnicity, Arabs (like Hispanics) are not counted separately in the race question on the Census, but there is no separate ethnic question for Arabs. The long form of the Census includes an ancestry question, but 2000 data are not yet available. AAI data indicate that "most Arab Americans are of Lebanese or Syrian origin, but the population of Egyptian, Palestinian, and Iraqi Americans has been growing steadily." According to 1990 Census data, the population is relatively concentrated: in 1990, two-thirds (66%) lived in ten states, and one-third (33%) lived in California, New York, and Michigan. About half (48%) lived in just 20 metropolitan areas; as of 1990 the top six were Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Northeastern New Jersey, Chicago, and Washington, DC. According to estimates by Zogby International, Fairfax County, VA was 11th among counties in Arab American population in 1990, and the 2000 population of Arab Americans is nearly 35,000. Montgomery County, MD, was 17th, with an estimated 2000 population of nearly 21,000.

Among the many well known Arab Americans: poet Kahlil Gibran, Senators George Mitchell and Spencer Abraham (now Secretary of Energy), Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, long-time dean of the White House Press Corps Helen Thomas, NPR talk show host Diane Reems, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Kinko's founder Paul Orfalea and clothing/slacks manufacturer J.M. Haggar are two highly successful Arab American business owners.

For source documents and more information about Arab Americans, try one of the following websites:

1. The Arab American Institute: http://www.aausa.org. AAI is a nonprofit organization established to represent Arab American interests in government and politics. It provides leadership training, addresses policy issues, and serves as an information clearinghouse and resource. AAI is located at:
1600 K Street, NW
Suite 601
Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 429-9210
e-mail: aai@aaiusa.org

A great deal of demographic and analytic information is available. Be prepared to explore; information is not always where you might expect it to be. For demographic data, from the home page, look at the list on the left column and click on "About Arab Americans," then "Where We Are" or "Who We Are." This will get you to Census data and analysis, including data for Virginia and Maryland. There is also a detailed analysis based on 1990 Census data by John Zogby, the well-known pollster. To find that, from "About Arab Americans," click on "Arab American Demographics," then click on "Arab America Today." For the Samhan article on Arab Americans from "Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia" -- an excellent source of information about this community -- click on "About Arab Americans," then look under "Arab American Resources" and click on the article, "Arab Americans." For information on well known Americans of Arab descent, go to "Arab American Resources" and click on "Arab Americans Making a Difference," by Casey Kasem. For a variety of articles about Arab Americans, click on "News and Views" (a blue box near the top of the home page) and then click on "Washington Watch," a weekly column by AAI President Dr. James J. Zogby. Several years of columns are available. See particularly "Understanding Arab Americans, Part I (April 3, 2000).

2. The American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC), also located in Washington. DC. Go to the website at http://www.adc.org.

ADC is a civil rights organization "committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk and has chapters nationwide." Its President is Dr. Ziad Asali. ADC is located at:
4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 244-2990
E-mail ADC@adc.org

In response to the terrorist attacks, ADC has compiled a list of "Information Resources on Arab- Americans, the Arab World, and Islam." Go to the home page and click on that title under "Action Alerts."

MUSLIM AMERICANS

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), there are about 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. The population is extremely diverse. Not more than 20% of them live in the Arabic-speaking world. Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population. Because the Census doesn't ask all Americans about their religious affiliation, it is hard to obtain full and accurate data about Muslim Americans. Population estimates vary from 4 to 8 milion. Several of the Muslim organizations estimate that there are about 7 million Muslims in the United States.

According to a State Department Fact Sheet, the first Muslims to arrive in what is now the U.S. were brought as slaves from West Africa. There have been significant waves of imigration early in the 20th century and from the late 1940s through the 1970s. During the more recent period, many Muslims began to come study at U.S. universities. The number of mosques, Islamic centers, and Islamic schools in the U.S. is estimated at 2,000 to 3,000.

The Muslim population is extremely diverse in its origins, including African Americans, South Asians (from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka), Arabs (from the Middle East and North Africa), Africans, Iranians, Turks, Southeast Asians (among them Malaysians and Indonesians), and East Europeans, as well as other American converts. A report on "The Muslim Population in the United States" by Fareed H. Numan in 1992 reported that 62% of Muslims lived in ten states, with California and New York having the largest Muslim populations. Virginia ranked 7th and Maryland 10th among these states.

According to a 2000 study by Zogby International, about 26% of American Muslims are Arabs of Middle East origin, 25% are from South Asia, 24% are African American, 10% are from the Middle East but not Arab, 6% are from East Asia, and the rest have other origins. A majority are reportedly immigrants, but they appear to have a high naturalization rate. The Zogby survey reported that more than 60% are now registered voters.

Muslim American leaders have expressed great concern about inaccurate and stereotypical views about Islam and about Muslims, particularly the belief that Islam condones the murder of civilians. CAIR's website explains that in Arabic, as used in the Quran, "jihad" does not mean "holy war." It means "to strive, struggle, and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense (e.g., - having a standing army for national defense), or fighting against tyranny or oppression." On CNN's Talk Back America program on September 16, Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan of CAIR said the following: "To associate Islam with bin Laden is like associating Christianity with Timothy McVeigh or Judaism with Dr. Baruch Goldstein" [who murdered 27 Muslims at prayer in a Hebron mosque].

Muslim groups have documented considerable discrimination against Muslims in the U.S., apart from the current situation. CAIR prepares an annual report on "The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States." The 2001 report, "Accommodating Diversity," reports on complaints filed with CAIR. Most often, these incidents involve a lack of accommodation to their religion in the workplace. Reports are provided for 13 states, including Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

A number of Muslim organizations provide information about Islam and about Muslim Americans. Here are websites and addresses for several of them.

1. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is "a nonprofit, grassroots membership organization dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public." It was established to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America" nd believes that "misrepresentations of Islam are most often the result of ignorance on the part of non-Muslims and reluctance on the part of Muslims o articulate their case." CAIR has chapters in various cities including New York.

Its website provides information about Islam, annual reports on incidents of discrimination against Muslim Americans, and a variety of other information. The website address is http://www.cair-net.org. CAIR is located at:
453 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Tel. (202) 488-8787

To locate the 2001 "Accommodating Diversity" report, go to the website and click on the "Accomodating Diversity" icon. For basic information about Islam, click on "About Islam."

Al-Haaj Ghazi Kahkan, Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Islamic Center of Long Island and Executive Director of CAIR in New York, participated in a live "chat" hosted by ABCNews.com on September 15. It provides information about Islamic teachings, reactions against the American Muslim community, and a variety of related issues. The transcript is available at http://www.ABCNEWS.com. Click on the icon on "Community" on the right side, then look for "Featured Chat," "Muslim Leader on Backlash."

2. The American Muslim Council was established to increase the effective participation of American Muslims in the U.S. political and public policy arenas. Its website is http://www.amconline.org. It is located at:
1212 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
Tel. (202) 789-2262
e-mail: amc@amconline.org

For charts summarizing the findings of the 2000 Zogby International survey on Muslim Americans, click on the "Survey on Muslim Americans" icon. The Council commissioned this survey.

Many of these organizations have e-mail newsletters to which you can subscribe. They can also provide information and representatives for community discussions. In addition, they can refer you to other resources!

Other References:

"Encyclopedia of American Religious History." Edward L. Queen, III, Stephen R. Prothero, and Gardiner Shattuck, Jr. New York: Facts on File, 1996.

"Fact Sheet: Islam in the United States." U.S. Department of State, Office of International Information Programs, 2001. http://www.usinfo.state.gov. (Includes useful references to other sources.)

"The Muslim Population in the United States." A Brief Statement by Fareed H. Numan, December 1992. available at: http://www.islam101.com/history/population2_usa.html includes a table of the segments of the U.S. Muslim population, information on the top 10 states in Muslim population, based on 1990 Census data.

STORIES AND ARTICLES

The Adan Center Mosque in Herndon suffered damage from a recent attack. They have re- painted and cleared most of the damage, except for the carpet (which has to be replaced) and some places on the walls. A local resident offered a donation. The representative from the mosque said that the best thing that can be done is to direct any donations toward relief efforts for the airplane crash sites. He kept talking about the tragedy and said that "the part of the body that is hurting the most needs the most help." (They are building a new center in another location and still insisted that donations go to the rescue efforts.) The other thing he really emphasized is education, that a lot of Muslim people were also killed in those blasts, etc., and that the Muslim community would like to be able to just grieve and not be fearful now every moment or be under something similar to house arrest (which many do not feel safe enough to leave their homes). He was most gladdened and heartened that many individuals contacted the mosque and that they wanted to help in the clean-up/repairs.

The Executive Director of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) presented a check to a Palestinean bookstore owner on behalf of the NCPC staff. The owner of an Islamic bookstore in Alexandria, he was stunned by the two broken windows he found this morning, and equally stunned by the $700.00 check that was presented to him from NCPC. The Executive Director of NCPC told the reporter [something like]: "This is what most Americans would do. The heart of America is welcoming the immigrant. We all are immigrants. Most Americans repairs broken windows; only the tiniest minority breaks windows...We are only doing our small part, inspired by our own values and the incredible acts of bravery and kindness seen in New York and the Pentagon."

Elizabeth Lesser, author of The Seeker's Guide and the cofounder of Omega Institute wrote this piece for a local newspaper:

In the aftermath of Tuesday's heartbreaking events I have been leaning on the words of my heroes. I turn to people like the Dalai Lama, or Thich Nhat Hanh, or Jane Goodall, or Iyanla Vanzant -- courageous people who have confronted evil in their lives, and met it with the strength of love. I think of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and our own American hero, Martin Luther King, Jr. If our country were under the leadership of people like this, what would they be telling us and the world? I believe that these people would tell us that strong and just action in the face of evil is legitimate. But they would also say that such action must not mirror the terrorist's actions. They would say that we have an historic opportunity to demonstrate a different kind of action, and in doing so to unify and heal our global community. This is what Martin Luther King called a "double victory." In speaking to those who sought violence against him and his dream, King said, "We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory." We need this "double victory" now. Yes, we need to bring the perpetrators of evil to justice. But we also need to be agents of enlightened thinking in the world. When the shock and the grief of the past days have been given their due time, we must try to transform the terror into something positive. The double victory will occur when we find a way to protect everything we love about America AND simultaneously address the misguided policies and values that have unwittingly contributed to the very terrorism we deplore. When I see on television young, ignorant American men driving through Muslim-American neighborhoods, waving American flags, and denouncing innocent people, I am reminded that the roots of terrorism are in the human heart. They are not only in one religious or ethnic group, nor only in third world nations far from here. Cruelty is born in the hearts of angry people. Fundamentalist groups, be they be the Ku Klux Klan, or the Kymer Rouge, or the hate-filled organization responsible for this catastrophe, can form anywhere there is fear and ignorance. Whether it is a young Arab man who grew up in poverty and violence in the Mid East, or a young white man who grew up neglected and mistreated in America, the hatred that dwells in the hearts of man will not be vanquished by more hatred.

It is my prayer that each one of us, and our country, and the world might use this tragedy for a "double victory." That as individuals who care about the world, we would also be on the lookout for misunderstanding, intolerance, and arrogance, in our own hearts. That as a country we would not only search for the people who committed these crimes, and bring them to justice, but that we would also reexamine our policies that contribute to terror in the world, and bring ourselves to justice. That as we denounce behavior that is lacking in the values we cherish most -- respect for life, equality of all people, love and care of children, generosity as opposed to greed, stewardship of the land -- we will also look deeply at how far we have strayed here at home from those values.

The light of justice is bright. If we dare to shine it on others, a strong reflection will come back on ourselves. Are we Americans ready to look more clearly at our individual life styles, our national policies, and the ways in which we do business in the world? We will have done nothing to avenge the grievous destruction and loss of life if we don't take this time for self-reflection.

On Tuesday night, when President Bush spoke to the American people, I had an opportunity to shine a light within my own heart. Since the presidential election nearly a year ago, I have hardened my heart in bitterness and intolerance towards President Bush. After his speech on Tuesday, I cried for the first time since the planes had smashed into the Trade Towers and the Pentagon. I cried because I was ashamed. Ashamed at my own ability to hate. Certainly, I can find a way to have my own strong beliefs and to disagree with people without putting them out of my heart; without demonizing them; without thinking I know everything about them. Yes, my internal feelings towards President Bush are a far cry from highjacking a jet and causing death and destruction, but intolerance has a way of building and spreading, and I for one, am comitting myself to the spirit of healing, not the spirit of violence.

People have asked me how each one of us might contribute in some way to the spirit of healing. In my own life, I prefer to "think globally, act locally." Here are some "local" things each one of us can do:

. . . pray for those who lost their lives in such frightening and violent ways. Pray for those grieving the loss of family members and friends. Pray that the cities of New York and Washington, DC, and the people who live there, recover their trust and their zest for living. Pray that the leaders of the United States and other nations will use restraint and wisdom as they search for answers and justice in this crisis.

. . . make time during these days to slow down, quiet your mind, and open your heart to the grace and wisdom of a higher force. Be mindful of your own reactivity and judgments. It is so important to be guided by a steady and quiet heart, not fear or speculation. Fear breeds the kind of actions we witnessed on Tuesday. When you feel waves of terror rising within you, stop for even a few breaths, and listen to the quiet voice of peace that is the harbinger of wisdom. And when you feel the strong pull of anger and the very human urge to retaliate, rest gently for a while in a love that transcends bitterness and hatred.

. . . resist focusing only on blame. Search deeper, for the causes of pain in the world. For even as we bring these particular madmen to justice, so too we can root out the madness in a world that perpetuates hunger, torture, poverty, inequality, and environmental destruction. What happened on Tuesday is connected to what happens everyday to people within our country and those far from America's shores. Truly we are all one people.

. . . dedicate your life to spreading love in your daily interactions at home and work. Do not be afraid to take a stand for love. In his famous letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King wrote, "Though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter, I eventually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love? 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you.' Was not Amos an extremist for justice? 'Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.' Will we be extremists for hate or for love?"

. . . have faith that there is a higher reason for everything and that good will prevail. At the beginning of the bus boycott in Montgomery, King told his followers that "faith in the dawn arises from the faith that life is good and just. When one believes this, he knows that the contradictions of life are neither final nor ultimate. He can walk through the dark night with the radiant conviction that all things work together for good. Even the most starless midnight may herald the dawn of some great fulfillment. Tonight we must believe that a way will be made out of no way."

September 18, 2001, This document was prepared by:
Association for the Study and Development of Community
312 South Frederick Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
kien@capablecommunity.com
www.capablecommunity.com

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