No Peace, No Justice or No Justice, No Peace?
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
This past Winter term, I had the opportunity to partner with our Multifaith Coordinator, Allison Pelyhes, in planning and executing Winterfaith. This event is an annual luncheon series is hosted by the Elon Community Church with help from The Truitt Center. When deciding what theme we would explore, Allison and I went back and forth before what feels like every theme imaginable before landing on activism within faith traditions.
To help us with this conversation, we called in some of our favorite people that happen double as activism experts. Week one, Melanie Bullock from the Center for Leadership presented a quick crash course on activism, discussing historic movements and the people, art, and change that came from it. Our audience for week one was smaller than anticipated, but the quality of the conversation surpassed all expectations. Members of the Elon Community Church congregation shared their experiences with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, protests during the Vietnam War, and other movements across the US. As a young woman of color from New English living in the south, where things are a bit different, it was really inspiring to hear these stories of perseverance and change.
With a solid foundation under our belts, the following week we had an interfaith panel with Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Father Peter Tremblay, and Kiah Glen of the CREDE. With the three Abrahamic traditions represented, our three panelists delved into what their respective texts said about activism and how their faith inspires their work. Across the board, there was a consensus that their faith explicitly has passages that outline the value of activism and has inspired their work. Other facets of their identities (race and gender for example) have also empowered these three people to take stands and advocate for themselves and others. The conversation came to close after the panelists gave their thoughts on what they believe in: no peace, no justice or no justice, no peace.
This whole conversation prompted me to think about how I practice activism. At first, I did not think I practiced activism. Upon further reflection (meaning as I write this blog), I am to the realization that my work with the Truitt Center and this internship is very much a form of activism. Interfaith work towards a pluralistic society requires vigorous campaigning for change. This can best be seen with the work that is put into RIPPLE and the conference itself, which is no easy feat. Being only a few weeks away from one of the TC’s biggest events, I am wicked excited to see what we achieve.
But before we do that, I am wondering what y’all think: No justice, no peace OR no peace, no justice?