April 23, 2019
Hi, all, Nina here, Program Director at Shoulder to Shoulder. You may not know this about me, but I am of Sri Lankan Catholic background. My family and loved ones in Sri Lanka are safe, thankfully, but there is a lot of fear and uncertainty. My heart aches for the families who have been directly impacted, who have lost their loved ones, who are in deep mourning now. The island has already endured far too many years of violence and injustice. As someone who works on issues of fostering greater inclusion and understanding here in the U.S., through our work at Shoulder to Shoulder, it is disheartening to witness how these horrific acts of mass violence are being used to pit communities against one another. We are all grieving together in this, no matter our faith or background, and these events are a stark reminder that our work to build communities of love, inclusion, and unity in the midst of diversity remains incredibly vital. Below is Shoulder to Shoulder’s statement, and I ask you to consider giving, in any way you can, to support our Sri Lankan siblings in this time of grief and to continue in your work of bringing communities together.
Shoulder to Shoulder response to the violence in Sri Lanka
For immediate release
Contact: Dr. Catherine Orsborn, Executive Director, Shoulder to Shoulder, Catherine.Orsborn@s2scampaign.org
Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Sri Lanka, where hundreds of people were killed in bombings at three churches while celebrating Easter and at three hotels. We join leaders and communities around the world in condemning the attacks and reaffirm that no one should worship in fear or under threat of violence, whether it’s violence targeting churches and hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, mosques during Friday prayer times in New Zealand, or morning Shabbat services at a synagogue in Pennsylvania.
Hate and violence have no religion. The perpetrators of these heinous acts of violence aim to stoke fear, division, and further violence between faith communities; and there are people already using this incident to paint that entire faith community as culpable in this violence. We can not and will not let them win. Now, more than ever, we must come together and continue building a just society where all are treated with dignity and respect, no matter their religious or cultural background.