Whether we live, work and/or worship in Evanston, we are inextricably bound to one another and the common ideals upon which our diverse faith traditions are founded. We understand that many in our midst have experienced those common ideals being placed at risk over the last 18 months and in the days following the 2016 elections, regardless of their political affiliations or preferences. We stand in solidarity with those in our midst who are frightened, feel marginalized or disrespected. We who are representatives of faith communities in Evanston are resolved to stand in mutual solidarity with those groups who may be exposed to undue suffering as we move into a new season in our nation.
We will stand, lock arms, listen to and speak with, struggle and, if need be, suffer to protect the rights of those in our community and nation. We have been inspired by the statements issued by Evanston leaders at the Evanston Township High School and the Evanston YWCA. Following their lead, we boldly proclaim: We are committed to making Evanston a safe and welcoming place for all people. We not only respect our differences in how we exercise our religious beliefs, but we embrace the diversity of religious beliefs and customs present in all who live, work, study, pray/worship or serve in Evanston; and We embrace one another’s race, ethnicity, family background, heritage, language, economic status, and culture; sexual orientations and gender identities; and all abilities and special needs.
We call on all of Evanston to treat one another with respect, to recognize the dignity in all fellow human beings, to speak and act from a foundation of love for neighbor, and to bring out the best in one another. We commit to act with courage, to stand up to hatred, bigotry, violence, and irrational fear, and to build bridges across and find common ground despite our country’s deep divisions and the divisions in our own community. We commit to providing protection and safe space for those who are targeted because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, skin tone, language, culture, or health. We commit to living and working so that justice, peace, and love prevail for all people in Evanston and our country.
We invite all faith community members to reach beyond their faith traditions to attend worship and/or engage in conversations with someone from a different faith the weekend of November 18. We invite all faith community leaders and members to sign this statement on or before November 20 at 2:00pm, when we will gather at the downtown Evanston Fountain Square for a commitment rally with peaceful prayer, songs, witness, and repentance/rectification. We have invited Mayor Tisdahl to receive the Interfaith Statement and signatures. We will call upon all of Evanston to join and hold accountable the faith communities in these solemn commitments.