OPED: Uniting York with a storytelling event
The Interfaith Justice Council of York County extends an open invitation to "Stories from a Divided Time: Uniting York" a storytelling event featuring speakers from York City's and County’s diverse ethnic, religious and service-based communities.
We live in divided times. That statement rose to the surface following the 2016 election. Negative and often shocking and harmful divisions continue to be highlighted and receive media attention. Congress is split and seems intent on staying that way by resisting to listen to or work with the other side. Much of the news is negative and tends to be add to a culture of fear and distrust. Divisions are highlighted from the weather to politics to sports to entertainment to religion to community safety and social media.
However, that same election brought unity. The first show of this unity was the international Woman's March that took place on January 21, to advocate legislation for human rights and other societal issues. It was the largest march in world history and not a single incident of violence was recorded during.a march of unity of people of all countries, colors, creeds, and convictions.
That momentum has been continuing in very positive ways across the world and in York County with more and more persons standing up and marching and advocating for justice and becoming politically and socially active. There is a growing desire to unite in divided times.
Our hearts were stunned and dismayed with the events in Charlottesville and the acts of hatred that have taken place in York County this year. The horrendous reality of bigotry and prejudice and white supremacy in our midst has been a wake-up call. The divisions are here and we are (knowingly or unknowingly) a part of the division either through our actions or inaction.
"People of faith often quote Dr. Martin Luther King's statement that "Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week," but people of faith are joining together to end that historical division. They are building face-to-face relationships to promote peace, justice and equity in York County. Change begins by realizing there are many sides to every story. When we hear each other's story, we can begin to dismantle these walls of division as individuals and as a community."
This is the Interfaith Justice Council's first storytelling event. We will continue to invite people of faith, people of goodwill and people of conscience from York County to share their experiences. They may be very different from ours, but we will undoubtedly recognize a piece of our own story in every word we hear. Please join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 11 North Richland Ave., York.
— Joan Maruskin is a retired UMC minister. She is a resident of New Freedom.