In response to increasing Islamophobia, xenophobia, and divisive rhetoric, “Standing Together” is an initiative to bring diverse groups in Hampton Roads together to speak out and stand with the Muslim community and others who are marginalized.  To date, components include:

A Pledge to Stand Together

On January 4, 2016, a full-page advertisement was placed in The Virginian-Pilot that shares a joint statement titled “We Stand Together,” followed by the names of over 140 religious leaders, houses of worship, and institutions that have committed their support.  The statement reads as follows:

Upholding the ideals of the “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” enacted into law by the Virginia General Assembly in 1786…

We stand together.

In response to recent divisive and hurtful rhetoric that targets members of our community…

We stand together.

With our Muslim friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have recently faced an increase in bigoted words and actions…

We stand together.

With the immigrants and refugees who today call this country home…

We stand together.

Celebrating the diversity of religions and belief systems as a source of strength…

We stand together.

Recognizing that we are all at risk when one group is unjustly targeted…

We stand together.

In the face of efforts to promote fear of people considered to be “the other”…

We stand together.

Sharing a commitment to understanding, peace, and justice…

We stand together.

Acknowledging that these words must be backed up by inclusive actions…

We stand together.

Today and in the future, we pledge that in the Hampton Roads region and beyond…

We stand together.

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“Standing Together” Press Conference & Community Gathering (January 24, 2016)

Approximately 200 people attended a “Standing Together” gathering on January 24, 2016 from 2:00pm – 3:30pm at the Slover Library.  The program featured a clergy press conference and interfaith panel discussion.

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Educational Resources

To learn more about diverse religious groups, here are some educational resources:

National & International Organizations

Virginia Organizations

Upcoming Events

  • NEXUS Interfaith Dialogue – February 15, 2016 (7:00pm – 8:30pm) at Virginia Wesleyan College – “When Rights Conflict: Personal Freedoms Versus Religious Obligations since the Hobby Lobby Decision”
  • NEXUS Interfaith Dialogue: March 14, 2016 (7:00pm – 8:30pm) at Virginia Wesleyan College – “Through the Eyes of Islam: Muslim Challenges in the Public Square”

Speaking Engagements

  • Imam Vernon M. Fareed of Masjid William Salaam (Norfolk) is available to speak to groups interested in learning more about Islam.  Imam Fareed is a former VCIC Humanitarian Award recipient, State Board member, and Tidewater Chapter member.  Contact the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to be placed in touch with Imam Fareed.

[These suggestions are intended for use by adults. Their listing on this page does not imply endorsement by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities of all content included therein.]

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#StandingTogether Social Media Campaign

Download the poster template (11×17 version or 8.5×11 version) or contact the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to get a poster. You can then print the template, write down how you will stand together, and take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
Post your picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #StandingTogether, and tag VCIC:

Together, let’s show the world that we are all #StandingTogether.

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Press Conference with Senator Mark Warner (December 11, 2015)

12369211_10153913515947275_8162080312508784378_nSenator Mark Warner convened a small group of religious and organizational leaders on December 11, 2015 at the First Freedom Center, the site where the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.
Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur was among the invited participants.  Following a private meeting with the Senator to discuss Islamophobia and ways to improve interfaith relations, a press conference was held with comments from each participant.

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