Guest Post by Fatima Mohamed, Bronx leader and Faith Over Fear Media & Messaging Team Member
“Faith over fear” sounds like – and is – one of the most cliched quotes. It can be found on countless Instagram pages, written across an aesthetically pleasing picture in order to incite some #deep emotions.
(Images that appear in an Instagram search of #faithoverfear)
It can be given as quick and easy advice or it can be something that is learned over time. Rarely, it seems though, do people actually act on their faith to rise above their fear. It is often easier to be scared of the unknown than to try and understand it. Faith Over Fear (FOF) is a local campaign here to fill that gap! Born out of Faith in New York (FINY), the Faith Over Fear campaign aims to band together congregations and faith-based organizations from every denomination across New York City to fight the issues, and more importantly the fears, that many people are facing today, such as islamophobia, anti-semitism, racism, sexism, anti-immigration attitudes, and xenophobia. The campaign believes that every human is made in the image of the divine and therefore deserves to live free from fear and have the ability to fully participate in civic life in our city. The campaign has already been meeting and planning with leaders from 90 congregations and is partnered with 25 faith-based institutions from across the city. [Attend our next meeting on March 23rd at 6 pm at Our Lady of Angelus Church!]
Photo by Brita Rose, Faith Over Fear and Media & Messaging Team Member
Faith Over Fear, formally launching on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 [rescheduled due to Tuesday’s blizzard], asks people of faith to step into public leadership and build New York into a more Beloved City (an allusion to Dr. King’s goal of a Beloved Community) by equipping them to effectively vote, protest, and organize. The coalition has developed a multi-issue policy platform of priority issues [Note: platform will be made public Wednesday, March 15th, 2017] for our city, and will train faith leaders in civic engagement tactics, such as coordinating candidate forums and weekend door-knocking, to inform citizens and elected officials about the platform. The goal is to get over 10,000 already registered but infrequent voters to participate in this year’s local elections. And inshallah we will succeed. These issues lack a much needed united religious, moral, and moreover local, voice. Instead of shying away from these topics as many do, Faith Over Fear seeks to create a forum to help us understand our brothers and sisters of every faith, and to work together to hold our local elected leaders accountable to our vision. This also includes holding national leaders accountable, such as Donald Trump and company, because try as he might to hide his political inexperience and boast alternative facts, Faith Over Fear will be here to remind him that the people in New York City have a stronger voice. When asked about his experience with Faith Over Fear, Aaron Miner, member at Epiphany Lutheran Church in the Bronx said, “Faith Over Fear is a way for us to come together and speak publicly about the issues facing our communities and those we serve every day, to step forward boldly in a moment of fear and anxiety, as a voice for justice and love.” Another participant, Debralee Johnson, member at Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene shared, “I’m glad to be a part of Faith Over Fear and work through the differences that divide us, especially in times like these. I hope we learn that we are more alike than it seems, no matter religion or country of origin. We’re all children of God.”
Photo by Crystal Walthall, Faith in New York Program Assistant & Intern Coordinator
Faith Over Fear is here for New Yorkers left wondering how they can show compassion to each other and incite change at this crucial time. Whether you are Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, or any other faith tradition, we are all in this together. The Quran says, “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion” (Surah Al-Kafirun 109:6). And though that line can be interpreted in many ways, I take it to mean that despite our difference we can still have mutual respect and understanding for each other. Many may try and separate us, but I find that whether you pray standing or sitting or not at all, we are all in some sense aspiring to be good. We are more effective against our enemy as one than if we are apart. So, for those who feel our future looks bleak and doomed, we must fight back with hope, prayer and action. Faith Over Fear and Faith in New York will continue organizing and resisting for our families and for the creation of the Beloved City. Be a part of this movement and join us at any of the following events, starting with our launch on Wednesday, and then continuing on for the next four years and beyond. You can RSVP here, on our website or Facebook, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t join in person, please be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and check the hashtags #FaithOverFear and #FePorEncimadelMiedo. And if you want to join our next Faith Over Fear Cohort planning meeting, please attend on March 23rd at 6 pm at Our Lady of Angelus Church!