Standing Together is a diverse, interfaith coalition that engages the greater Richmond region to stand in solidarity with targeted communities by promoting justice and advancing human dignity, inclusion, and equity.  

To date, components include:

Rapid-Response Funding

Community Events

Statements & Pledges


The Standing Together Steering Committee of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities offers these reflections on the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are turbulent and anxious times. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended so many of our lives. We have little clarity about the path ahead. And to make matters more challenging, we are also being asked to keep ourselves away from our normal support systems and communities.

We implore our community to stand together in this moment of crisis by:

  • Rejecting bigotry, practicing solidarity with targeted communities (in particular communities of Asian descent), and treating each other with compassion, empathy, respect, and trust. This virus is not of a people, a geography, race, ethnicity, age or social class. We are all in this together.
  • Respecting the advice and guidance of our experts who are working endlessly to minimize the impacts of this crisis. Practice social distancing and follow regulations regarding public gatherings. Stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
  • Being creative in our ways of building community, providing support, and, if relevant, practicing our faith.
  • Supporting those who are most vulnerable, not only to illness, but also to economic displacement. Refrain from hoarding goods and supplies also needed by others in the community, give as generously as possible to local relief efforts and emergency funds, seek out ways to safely volunteer your time and talent, advocate on behalf of those whose lives and livelihoods have been upended by this crisis.
  • Offering words of encouragement and hope. Call or write to those who may be isolated or suffering. Share messages of gratitude, joy, and kindness on social media. Be gentle with one another.

This challenge confronts all of us. By standing together, we will not only overcome it, we will come out the better for it.

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“We Stand Together” Pledge

On December 27, 2015, a full page advertisement was placed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that shares a joint statement titled “We Stand Together,” followed by the names of over 130 individuals and institutions that have committed their support.  The statement reads as follows:

Our diverse religious and social teachings lead us to come together at this time with one voice to condemn bigotry in public discourse.

In particular, we denounce the recent rise in Islamophobia and xenophobia that tear down our fellow humans and build up divisions between people. Recognizing that all of us are at risk when one group is unjustly targeted, we stand with our Muslim friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and all who are unjustly vilified as “the other.” These individuals serve Virginia as citizens, teachers, police officers, medical workers, tradespersons, community leaders, mothers, and fathers. We reach out in this moment with a shared commitment to justice, compassion, love, and peace.

At a time when feelings of fear and vulnerability may be heightened, we call on public figures, private citizens, and media outlets to always speak and act with respect and sensitivity. Religion should never be a wall that separates people from this land, from their neighbors, or from their hopes and dreams.

This Commonwealth proclaimed its commitment to the freedom of religion nearly 230 years ago with the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. We affirm the ideals of this groundbreaking document by working to build more respectful, pluralistic, and inclusive communities.

Today and in the future, we pledge that in the Richmond region and beyond, we stand together.

 

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“Standing Together to Combat Anti-Semitism” (January 12, 2020)

In response to recent attacks in New Jersey and New York, the Richmond community was invited to attend a “Standing Together to Combat Anti-Semitism” gathering on January 12, 2020 from 3:30pm – 5:00pm at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. The program included speakers, a panel discussion, and community conversations.

The Standing Together Steering Committee of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities convened this event in partnership with ADL Washington, D.C., Congregation Or Ami, Islamic Center of Virginia, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Keneseth Beth Israel, Side by Side, Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, Temple Beth-El, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, The Valentine First Freedom Center, Virginia Holocaust Museum, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and YWCA Richmond.

 

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“Standing Together: Remember and Respond” (March 19, 2017)

In community with all who are facing increased bigotry and hatred and in particular response to the rise in anti-Semitic threats and vandalism, the community gathered for “Standing Together RVA: Remember and Respond.”  The program took place on Sunday, March 19 at 5:00pm at Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery (located within Forest Lawn Cemetery at 4000 Pilots Lane, Richmond).
Sponsors of this event included Bonay Kodesh, Congregation Beth Ahabah, Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery, First UU Church of Richmond, Islamic Center of Virginia, the Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Richmond Hill, Richmond Peace Education Center, Temple Beth-El, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and the Weinstein JCC.

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“Standing Together: One Community, One Nation” (February 5, 2017)

The Islamic Center of Virginia, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy came together with the community for a gathering of unity and solidarity on Sunday, February 5 at 3:30pm at the Islamic Center of Virginia.
The program included speakers, testimonies, and calls to action.

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“Standing Together” RVA Community Gathering (December 4, 2016)

The community came together to learn, share, and show support on Sunday, December 4 at 3:30pm at Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church. This gathering was an opportunity to stand together with those who have increasingly been targeted and marginalized, and to demonstrate concern about the recent rise in hate speech, bias, and division.  The program included speakers, sharing, and small group dialogues.

Organizers of this effort included representatives from Bon Secours Richmond Health System, the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Richmond Hill, Richmond Peace Education Center, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, Temple Beth El, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Virginia Council of Churches, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs.

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“Standing Together” Interfaith Press Conference (December 1, 2016)

40 religious and organizational leaders gathered at Temple Beth-El on December 1, 2016 for a “Standing Together” press conference.  Speakers included Imam Ammar Amonette, Father Shay Auerbach, Ms. Randee Humphrey, Rev. Rodney Hunter, Rabbi Michael Knopf, Rev. Michael Moore, Dr. Archana Pathak, and VCIC President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur.  All in attendance shared in reading “A Pledge to Stand Together,” led by Rev. Lauren Ramseur.

Organizers of this effort include representatives from Bon Secours Richmond Health System, the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Richmond Hill, Richmond Peace Education Center, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, Temple Beth El, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Virginia Council of Churches, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs.

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“Standing Together” at the University of Richmond (September 9, 2016)

A “Standing Together” event took place on September 9 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the University of Richmond.  The program explored interfaith understanding 15 years after 9/11.  The program included an interfaith panel.
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“Religious Diversity and Immigration in Virginia” at the Library of Virginia (June 21, 2016)

As a complement to “First Freedom: Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom,” the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities co-hosted a panel discussion exploring the intersection of religious freedom and immigration, focusing on how the concept of religious freedom informs or influences an immigrant’s perceptions of citizenship.  This program took place on June 21 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm and was made possible through a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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“Standing Together” at Virginia Union University (April 21, 2016)

A “Standing Together” event took place on April 21, 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:30pm at Virginia Union University’s L. Douglas Wilder Library Lecture Hall.  The program included an interfaith panel and discussion.

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“Standing Together” at Salisbury Presbyterian Church (April 19, 2016)

A “Standing Together” event took place on April 19, 2016 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm at Salisbury Presbyterian Church (13621 W. Salisbury Road, Midlothian).  The program included an interfaith panel and discussion.

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“Standing Together” at Randolph-Macon College (March 6, 2016)

A “Standing Together” event took place on March 6, 2016 in the Blackwell Auditorium at Randolph-Macon College.  The program will include an interfaith panel and facilitated small group discussions.

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Public “Standing Together” Event (January 10, 2016)

Over 600 people attended a “Standing Together” gathering on January 10, 2016 at Congregation Beth Ahabah.  The program featured speakers, a panel discussion, and community conversations.

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“We Stand Together” Pledge

On December 27, 2015, a full page advertisement was placed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that shares a joint statement titled “We Stand Together,” followed by the names of over 130 individuals and institutions that have committed their support.  The statement reads as follows:

Our diverse religious and social teachings lead us to come together at this time with one voice to condemn bigotry in public discourse.

In particular, we denounce the recent rise in Islamophobia and xenophobia that tear down our fellow humans and build up divisions between people. Recognizing that all of us are at risk when one group is unjustly targeted, we stand with our Muslim friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and all who are unjustly vilified as “the other.” These individuals serve Virginia as citizens, teachers, police officers, medical workers, tradespersons, community leaders, mothers, and fathers. We reach out in this moment with a shared commitment to justice, compassion, love, and peace.

At a time when feelings of fear and vulnerability may be heightened, we call on public figures, private citizens, and media outlets to always speak and act with respect and sensitivity. Religion should never be a wall that separates people from this land, from their neighbors, or from their hopes and dreams.

This Commonwealth proclaimed its commitment to the freedom of religion nearly 230 years ago with the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. We affirm the ideals of this groundbreaking document by working to build more respectful, pluralistic, and inclusive communities.

Today and in the future, we pledge that in the Richmond region and beyond, we stand together.

 

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“Standing Together” Interfaith Press Conference (December 17, 2015)

Nearly 100 religious and organizational leaders gathered at the Islamic Center of Virginia on December 17, 2015 for a “Standing Together” press conference.  Speakers included Imam Ammar Amonette, Rabbi Dovid Asher, the Rev. Dr. Brian K. Blount, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, Rabbi Ben Romer, Priest Rajagopal Thuppal, Rev. Janet Winslow, and VCIC President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur.  All in attendance shared in reading “A Pledge to Stand Together.”

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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 Richmond Chapter M. Imad Damaj and President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur were 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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