Shoulder to Shoulder August 2015 Newsletter

Shoulder to Shoulder August 2015 Newsletter

“We Refuse to be Enemies”
November 2015

Shoulder to Shoulder is partnering this fall with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom, to stand up together as people of faith in solidarity and to publicly declare: “We Refuse to Be Enemies.” This is part of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s annual Season of Twinning.

We are hopeful that many Shoulder to Shoulder Community members and affiliates will join in this fall, to stand collectively against hate that targets religious minorities in our own communities, as well as abroad. Together, we can amplify the message that hatred and bigotry are not our stories- we have a different narrative to tell.

Will you join us?

To get involved, local organizations and congregations can reach out to Catherine Orsborn at or Walter Ruby at, or sign up through the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s “Twinning Form” here.

Meet some Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar Participants!

Daphne W. Creasman

Daphne W. Creasman is a Master of Divinity student at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. A candidate for ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church, she has a heart for justice and peaceful reconciliation efforts within the gathered Christian community (i.e., through ecumenism) and beyond the gathered Christian community (i.e., through interfaith relationships). She seeks to celebrate diversity and religious pluralism through creative pedagogy that promotes interdisciplinary education and the holistic connectivity of spiritual, creative, and scientific development, discernment, and reflection. With a promising outlook as a leader in the faith and academic sectors, Daphne is looking forward to experiencing Shoulder to Shoulder’s Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar as both an educational and enrichment opportunity. She is excited about gleaning from the various programming, learning, and network opportunities as well as contributing her own unique voice to the conversation of eradicating bigotry and discrimination on the basis of religion.

Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz

Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz has been living in the USA for five years. He attended Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO where he obtained a Masters of Divinity. He is a United Methodist Pastor serving a Latino congregation and an Anglo congregation in Des Moines, Iowa. He is originally from Guatemala where he studied Anthropology and a Masters in Development. He loves meeting people from different cultures and traveling. While also believing that love and treating others with respect is at the core of all main faith traditions. He is excited to attend the Emerging Leaders Seminar because he experienced that when all different faith traditions work together, we can achieve more for the betterment of our communities. As a Christian, he’s aware of his privilege and wants to leverage it for good. In preparing for this seminar, Alejandro said, “The best thing I can do is to encourage my brothers and sisters from other faith traditions to be the best Muslim, Jew, Pagan, Buddhist, Sikh, Wiccan, etc. that they can be. I don’t want to focus on what I am against, but want to focus on what I stand for: love and acceptance.”

Recently, several European nations stated that they would receive Syrian refugees, so long as they are Christian. On the latest episode of State of Belief, Shoulder Campaign Director Catherine Orsborn talked with Rev. Welton Gaddy about how anti-Muslim bigotry is impacting Syrian refugees across the globe:

“This situation requires that all countries be on deck with a humanitarian response. But the fact is that [the Syrian refugee crisis] isn’t being treated through a humanitarian frame, it’s being treated through a security lens right now. And so, people here in the US and elsewhere express a lot of concern about the impact of ISIS on the people of Syria, but then they paint Muslim Syrians fleeing from this horrific violence as national security threats rather than as human beings who are seeking refuge, freedom and flourishing.

I think you always have to ask, security for whom? Because we’re not talking about human security for the Syrians who are fleeing a situation of dire insecurity that most of us have never experienced.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Are you a Muslim or Jewish woman? Our partners at Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom have some exciting initiatives coming up this fall and winter. The Muslim & Jewish Women Leadership Conference will be held on December 6 this year in Princeton, NJ, and their Building Bridges trip to the Balkans will take place in January 2016- click here to learn more.