Standing Together: 9/11 Interfaith Service and Remembrance
WINNER: $10,000 Challenge Recipient
On the weekend of September 11, 2011, Islamic Networks Group (ING) and four of its national affiliates will coordinate “Standing Together: 9/11 Interfaith Service and Remembrance.” The themes of this national event are commemorating the victims of 9/11 through interfaith cooperation, rejecting violence in all its forms (e.g., hate crimes and bullying due to stereotyping), and highlighting constructive responses to tragedy through outreach, volunteerism and community service. Our goal is to generate volunteers who will work with ING and its affiliates in interfaith based service projects, including expansion of our Interfaith Speakers Bureau program.
“Standing Together: 9/11 Interfaith Service and Remembrance” will take place in five locations: the San Francisco Bay Area (ING's home office), Phoenix, Minneapolis/Twin Cities, Atlanta and Cincinnati. ING directs the event activities in the Bay Area venue, while ING's affiliates coordinate event activities in the other four cities.
We have two levels of partnership for “Standing Together”: national and local.
ING will work with the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), a current close partner, and the Catholic Diocese of Oakland to encourage their counterpart organizations in the five locations to provide support for ING affiliates, directly or through the most appropriate local Jewish and Catholic organizations. For example, if an ING affiliate needs help finding clergy to participate, our regional partner organizations can help.
At the local level, ING's affiliates are finding partners. For example, ING's Minnesota affiliate has confirmed participation by the Minnesota National Guard, Gold Star Families, the Governor, and several senators, congressional representatives, and first responders. We are asking each affiliate to find at least one interfaith partner and one civic organization or public official to participate.
Just as we have national and local levels of partnership, we will also publicize this event on national and local levels.
On the national level, ING will publicize “Standing Together” on our websites, listservs and email lists, social media channels (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) We will also send out a press release to national news media (e.g., CBS, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times).
On the local level, ING will leverage our strong networking relationships with Muslim, interfaith, civic organizations, and Silicon Valley businesses for word-of-mouth and viral marketing. We will arrange to have announcements about this event made at mosques, synagogues and churches. We will also send out a press release to local news media.
Likewise, ING affiliates in Phoenix, Minneapolis/Twin Cities, Atlanta and Cincinnati will use their interfaith, civic, business and news media networks to publicize “Standing Together,” along with their own websites, email lists, and social media.
Outline of event activities:
ING affiliates are responsible for planning the exact schedule of activities. Each affiliate determines which day (Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday) of the 9-11 weekend will be most suitable. The affiliate chooses the venue, determines the line-up of speakers, particular event activities, etc.
ING and its affiliates, however, will implement the following program components at all locations:
(1) An interfaith memorial for the victims of 9/11 and their families. This will include activities such as reading some of the names and brief biographies of both victims 9/11 first responders, a moment of silence, statements on how faith communities and others have responded, and statements by Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy on national healing.
(2) An interfaith response to a local need. In each venue, Muslim, Jewish and Christian spokespeople/organizations will give a joint presentation on interfaith activities in their area addressing a local need, with a call for volunteers and providing event participants with an opportunity to request these services.
The specific need will vary by location.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, ING will announce the launch of the national expansion of our Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB). IFSB trains lay people who belong to the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist faiths to be interfaith panelists. IFSB also arranges for them to participate in interfaith panels appearing at high schools, colleges, civic organizations, houses of worship, law enforcement agencies, and other audiences that make an impact on local public opinion. The purpose of IFSB is to promote interfaith understanding, peace and cooperation in accordance with the religious freedom protections of the First Amendment. IFSB has been operating in the Bay Area since 2007. We are making the public announcement of IFSB’s national expansion with the Bay Area observance of “Standing Together.” In our Bay Area launch, individual IFSB panelists will talk about their experiences with this program. We will have an IFSB panel on how faith traditions can help communities heal after tragedies such as 9/11. We will also have booths to recruit more IFSB panelists, and also to encourage teachers, businesspeople, law enforcement officers, and others to contact ING for IFSB presentations.
In the other four cities, ING affiliates will follow a similar format, but they determine which local needs are most pressing. E.g., if an affiliate finds that school bullying is the most appropriate topic, then it will hold an interfaith presentation on anti-bullying resources from different faith traditions. They will also provide ways for people to request these resources, or volunteer with local anti-bullying organizations.
Other possible local needs include hate crimes and discrimination, adult illiteracy, homelessness, hunger and food insecurity, or job referrals and training for the unemployed.
At each of the five locations, ING and its affiliates will recruit at least thirty volunteers, for a total of 150 volunteers.
Volunteer activities include: event publicity (creating website content, making Facebook event pages, designing and distributing posters or other publicity collateral); site preparation, management, and clean-up; providing usher and parking assistance; printing and distributing programs; videography; audio equipment; helping to organize event picnics; etc.
ING will give affiliates volunteer sign-up sheets and a spreadsheet for recording volunteer names, contact information (phone numbers, email and mailing addresses), and what each volunteer does. By September 12, affiliates will send these back to ING. We will compile them for CNCS review.