Religious Diversity & Bridgebuilding
United We Build
A mini-documentary series highlighting bridgebuilders nationwide.
United We Build
As we head into an election year, Interfaith America, an organization with over twenty years of experience creating social cohesion and civic cooperation, would like to highlight the often-unheralded stewards of democratic practice, individuals who work daily to create space where others are welcome and seen. To bring these stories to the forefront, we are launching ‘United We Build,’ a mini-documentary series highlighting bridgebuilders nationwide. These bridgebuilders share a belief in our Potluck Nation, a country of diverse identities and divergent ideologies. That belief is often fueled by their varying faiths and rich religious traditions.
The individuals and organizations whose stories we are highlighting are mighty for their ability to organize, create, and help those around them. They are regular people engaged in the civic space, attempting in their ways and parts of the country to heal the nation. They are heroes and examples of our collective strength and genius. They remind us that collectively, we are much weaker when divided.
We traveled to the DMV to spend time with poet, potter, painter, student, organizer, daughter, wife and devout Muslim Sasa Akil, Montgomery County’s Youth Poet Laureate in 2021, who was raised in her grandmother’s Christian home.
Sasa organizes an interfaith, inter-generational open mic and brought some of those people and stories to the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival last summer.
The poetic text in this episode Sasa first premiered at The National Museum of African American History and Culture as part of a Black Interfaith Fellowship event in partnership with Interfaith America.
We travel to Newark, NJ to visit with Reverend Sharon Stroye, as she facilitates a Black & Jewish dinner & dialogue series in partnership with The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). The year long project is on going and seeks to build bridges between those communities in and around the city of Newark. Sharon currently serves the inaugural Director of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Initiative at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
Syda Taylor is the founder and executive director of the grassroots social justice and holistic wellness non-profit Organic Oneness. She is a leader, organizer and convener of people and communities, who operates out of Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. Syda is moved and inspired by her Baha’i faith to create a universal approach to care for oneself and one’s community. Interfaith America was able to spend time at Organic Oneness’ 5th Annual King Day of Service in 2023.
Meet Chloe Henry, a deeply committed Evangelical Christian, Faith in Action Program Manager at Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity, and one of our partners in the Team Up project. Chloe is organizing an Interfaith Build for Unity, bringing together various religious communities, to provide more permanent housing for families in need. In doing so, she is helping to foster a space for an Interfaith community in Colorado Springs, bringing together people from diverse faiths and divergent ideologies, to create together in the civic space.