By Rev. Jerome Stephens
(BALTIMORE – September 19, 2017) – Recently, over 75 faith and community leaders from across the region met at The Associated for a roundtable conversation titled “Uniting Our Community After Charlottesville – Continuing the Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion.”
Flanking Sen. Ben Cardin at the gathering were Associated President Marc B. Terrill and Linda A. Hurwitz, the Associated’s chair of the board.
“There is a lot of energy out there that has been created,” Senator Cardin told the group. He added, “If we can listen to each other, we can establish ways we can collectively be more effective.”
Rabbi Steven Fink of Temple Oheb Shalom spoke of the concluding words from this past Shabbat’s Torah portion – “You must not remain indifferent” – as a call to action. “We, as religious leaders and as Americans, must mobilize the entire religious community and all of the community,” Rabbi Fink said.
“We cannot allow the events in Charlottesville to become normalized, to become who we are as a country,” said Diane Bell-McKoy, president and CEO of Associated Black Charities. She continued, “We must come together, use our faith, use what we know, to talk about the root causes. We must be willing to have the most difficult conversations that we have not had as a country. I am a suggesting a follow up with a daylong forum on such topics as race relations, implicit bias, the impact of structural racism and other related topics. The Office of United States Senator Ben Cardin could partner with faith groups and community groups to continue the conversation. Thank you for thinking of us to host Senator Cardin’s event earlier this morning. We hope that the event met your expectations. We thought it was quite productive and look forward to working together on next steps.