TENTH ANNUAL CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM INTERFAITH PEACE WALK
Every year the Children of Abraham Peace Walk celebrates community and the role of the diverse faith community in responding to crisis. Last year we visited a synagogue that was housing a church congregation made homeless by a lightning strike. The year before, we recognized a mosque that was struggling to be built in the face of local hostility and fear. This is not a peace march– we walk together in solidarity and focused on peace in our local relations.
This year’s Peace Walk route passed through some quite different neighborhoods, from Crown Heights to the African neighborhoods around Fulton Street. Though the route was long and the temperature was 94 degrees at the start of our walk (!) and though access varied, the houses of worship are all fascinating. Delicious middle eastern food was arranged by the Almontasers and served in St Luke’s and St Matthew’s the church that last year became a hub for Hurricane Sandy relief and then unfortunately was set on fire. though the participants were smaller in number this year we were strong in commitment and in the spirit of solidarity. We celebrate the spirit of resilience!
A) Union Temple, 17 Eastern Parkway and proceed to:
B) Kol Israel 620 St Johns Place;
c) St Theresa Avila Roman Catholic 563 Sterling Place;
d) Masjid at Taqwa 1188 Fulton Street;
e) impromptu visit to St John’s Fire Baptised Holiness
e) St Luke & St Matthew Episcopal 520 Clinton –with refreshments!
In addition Here is a more detailed video of the presentation/story telling at Kol Israel:
The 2012 Children of Abraham Peace Walk was held on Septmber 11, 2012. Recognizing the solidarity that arises after any disaster, the Walk included a visit to a Church that was hit by lightening this summer, and severely damaged; as well as to a local Firehouse. Thanks all who attended!
MANY THANKS to all who participated in last year’s very meaningful and successful Children of Abraham Peace Walk. The following description is from Reverend Tom Martinez, who is also the photogapher responsible for these fine images.
In addition, a second account of the event can be found here: Shatzky Article Huff Post. Video links can be found on the column to your right!
PEACE WALK COMMEMORATES TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11
Rev. Tom Martinez, All Souls Bethlehem Church
A crowd of over two hundred made up of Jews, Christians, Muslims and people of good will gathered at the Dawood Mosque (143 State St.) in Brooklyn for the 8th annual Children of Abraham Peace Walk. Normally the walk is held in June on “Brooklyn Queens Day” because of the school holiday. But this year the organizers decided to hold the walk on September 11th, hoping the event would provide participants with a meaningful way to spend the day (i.e., walking together in a spirit of peace).
Walk organizer Rabbi Ellen Lippmann gave the opening remarks, followed by The President of the Arab American Association of New York, Dr. Jabber, who gave a welcome on behalf of the mosque. He was followed by Borough President Marty Moskowitz, NYC Comptroller John Lui, and New York City Councilman Brad Lander. Well known activist and educator Debbie Almontaser concluded the opening ceremonies and the walk began.
The diverse nature of the participants was reflected in the route. Beginning at the mosque, the crowd proceeded north along Clinton Street to Remsen, where they visited the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church. After having visited Muslim, Jewish and Christian houses of worship, the walk proceeded to FDNY Engine Co. 205 on Middagh St., near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Children presented dozens of hand-painted cards they had prepared for the firefighters, a project coordinated by the Muslim Consultative Network. Then Alex Pobiner, a member of All Souls Bethlehem Church, gave the firefighters a gift basket on behalf of the Peace Walk. The basket was given both in acknowledgement of the 8 firefighters the company lost on September 11, 2001, and as an expression of appreciation for the dangerous nature of their everyday work.
Then it was up and over the Brooklyn Bridge, roughly two hundred people walking together for peace. The orderly procession then wound its way through the streets of Manhattan to Charlotte’s Place, a new community center funded by Trinity Wall Street Church. Located at 109 Greenwich Street, the center provides air-conditioned community space with free wi-fi and computers for anyone needing a place to rest. They also offer many activities for the public, such as mediation classes and crafts for children. The center recently collaborated with local artist Muriel Stockdale, who coordinated the “OUT OF MANY, ONE.”
That project consisted of people outlining and making paper cut-outs of their hands and then placing them on a colorful mural, which was unveiled on 9/11. The mural formed the backdrop for the closing ceremonies of the Peace Walk, with some images blending the arms and hands of the speakers with the hands on the mural, reminding us all that out of many different backgrounds, New Yorkers truly are one.
WHERE WILL YOU BE FOR THE 9/11 ANNIVERSARY?
SAVE THE DATE
COME JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORS IN BROOKLYN FOR THE
Children of Abraham
Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Other Neighbors
Walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan for Peace
September 11, 2011, 2:00 pm–5:00 pm
Tired of all the hate and fear? Join us as we walk together in a spirit of peace, Jews, Christians, Muslims and all people of good will. We’ll be supporting the resilience of our city while deepening our interfaith connections and spreading the message that here in Brooklyn people from different walks of life experience mutual respect and friendship. Please email to your lists. Youth groups and musical performers are welcomed.
Begins at: 2PM Gather at the Dawood Mosque (143 State St., Brooklyn, NY)
Walk as a group toward Brooklyn Bridge, stopping at houses of worship including Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (131 Remsen St.); and also visit the local Firehouse (Middagh Street) to express our thanks and give some tokens of appreciation! Cross Brooklyn Bridge and proceed to the community center behind Trinity Church, “Charlotte’s Place” (109 Greenwich St., NY, NY). Join in the other 9/11 observances going on downtown!
Flier here: PeaceWalk-082611 (1)
Refreshments will be served. All ages welcome. Additional co-sponsors welcome.
For further information, please contact:
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann: (718) 633-6377
Rev. Tom Martinez: (718) 915-2600
Debbie Almontaser: (917) 559 8480
Sponsored by: All Souls Bethlehem Church • Arab Muslim American Federation • Brooklyn Congregations United • Catholic Charities: Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens • Church of Gethsemane • Congregation Beth Elohim • Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) • Kolot Chayeinu/ Voices of Our Lives • Muslim Consultative Network • Park Slope Jewish Center • Temple Beth Emeth vOhr Progressive Shaarei Zedek The Dialogue Project
Article written by the interns at Muslim Consultative Network:
Brooklyn Peace Walk Promotes Coexistence During Challenging Week for Muslims
On Thursday, June 10, the Seventh Annual Children of Abraham Peace Walk stepped into a muddy interfaith minefield—and lived to tell a tale of hope and struggle.
This took place in a week in which hundreds of Staten Island residents jeered at mosque planners at a community board meeting in Staten Island; and thousands opposed a proposed mosque and community center in downtown Manhattan, expressing virulent anti Muslim sentiments and misunderstandings. Video here:
The Children of Abraham Peace Walk was created by a handful of Brooklyn-based interfaith leaders in the wake of 9/11 to deal with just such misunderstandings on a local level. In contrast to a classic peace march, the peace walk promotes trust building among neighbors and not justice issues overseas. Usually it is a quiet and peaceful event; but this year organizers had their hands full.
The 2010 Peace Walk was planned to take place in Sheepshead Bay, to celebrate the community’s religious and cultural diversity and to support the hopes of the new mosque community trying to build from a vacant lot in the face of fear and misunderstanding from a small group of neighbors.
Rain clouds cleared away as diverse Peace Walkers approached the Methodist Church where the program would begin. Another church that was to host the event’s beginning had withdrawn two days before, intimidated by harassing phone calls from the wider community.
The program began in an historic, sunlit church space packed with almost 300 supporters. After prayers and remarks from such allies as Dr Ahmed Jabber and Rabbi Michael Feinberg, as well as Walk Founders like Rev Tom Martinez and Sr. Debbie Almontaser, the procession got going under serious police escort, with ministers, rabbis and imams, Yemeni American teens carrying a hundred fluttering American flags, and mothers of all shape and size with their little children moving past the Sheepshead Bay marina with its shining yachts and seafood restaurants down leafy Brooklyn streets to the site of the planned mosque, where protesters awaited.
Two first-time walk participants working with Muslim Consultative Network can take up the story:
Sister Megan: “One leader of our community started crying when she read the Islamaphobic signs across the way.”
Sister Aminat: “The images at the site from the protestors really shocked me by their hatefulness towards the proposed mosque to be built in the Sheepshead bay area. There were posters around their homes which stated, “M.A.S is not welcome here,” “Muslim Consultative Network: Your Advocacy is Not Wanted Here” and other, more hateful messages.”
Megan: “The other side of the street was surprisingly quiet. I had expected them to be more hateful by yelling out slogans and the like, but they were very peaceful, which contrasted the same handwriting signs that littered the houses. But something that disturbed me was the neighbor that stood taking pictures for nine-tenths of the time we were meeting and eating in the proposed mosque site. His motive was unclear, but it just made me feel like he was going to submit our pictures to the FBI for clearance.”
Once at the site of the proposed mosque, with both sides carrying flags, and short, welcoming speeches, good cheer prevailed along with free delicious sandwiches supplied by Naji Almontaser. Even the refusal of neighbors to take roses from the children, or sandwiches and drinks from adults, did not dampen the spirit. Though at least one or two residents said threatening things, another resident crossed over the barricades to discuss the situation with a mosque supporter. It was easy to see that unlike the anti Islamic rallies at the World Trade Center that these protesters were families just like the mosque families—perhaps separated by only misunderstanding and the lack of dialogue.
Sister Megan: “The image that was most striking was the children that were fluttering about. They were playing and that brought such innocence to the walk. As mentioned, it was also heart warming and heart breaking at the same time to see the children waving and sending greetings to children across the barrier who they might have possibly known from school.”
Sister Aminat: The children made the event successful by them being there it was a reality check on us all that they are our future and we have to pave the way to make it better place for them. The event was really successful– there were a lot of people of all different faiths. We all came together and walked as one, all trying to achieve the same goal, Peace.”