February 2, 2023
Have you ever thought how good it would be if our public schools offered age-appropriated lessons on Religious Diversity to help students understand the religious dimension of American Plurality and cultivate mutual respect? Just this month, two members of New York City’s Council submitted a Referendum for that purpose. As a former high school English teacher, I had thought about a similar program for years. In case you, too, may wish to explore sponsoring a similar program in your community, I offer you the following.
On Thursday, 2 February 2023, I took part in a coalition of members of many faiths to support two NYC Council representatives in proposing Religious Diversity Education in the New York Public School System. I made many new contacts, particularly among the Muslim, Sufi, and Sikh community, and hope to participate in future steps toward making this goal a reality. Many of us gave two- minute statements for a press release on the steps of City Hall, accompanied by Council Members Shahana Hanif (Main sponsor of the resolution) and Oswald Felix (Education Committee member). Here’s my statement followed by a couple of photos and links to learn more about this initiative:
“I am Fr. James DiLuzio, a member of the Paulist Fathers, a Roman Catholic order of priests committed to the open dialogue of Faith with American Culture. Today, in the “Land of the Free,” many people are afraid to display their religious symbols, to discuss their faiths, values, and ethics in public. Suspicion of people of faiths, especially practitioners of faiths present in minority populations in our country, contributes to misunderstandings and racial profiling that leads to bullying, intimidation, and violence that American democracy cannot allow. I join with the others here present to insist that the public Education of new generations of Americans provide ways to foster understanding and cooperation among peoples of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures. A positive future for these United States depends on it. We, and other representatives of religious institutions are here to assist New York’s Education System in creating a fair, open-minded, and respectful Religious Diversity Education.”
Do you live in New York City? If you are in favor of this resolution and would like to see it enacted, write or phone:
- Council Member Rita Jacobs (Chair of Education Committee)
- Council Members Shahana Hanif (Main sponsor of the resolution)
- District 39 – Shahana Hanif (nyc.gov)
- Oswald Felix (Education Committee member).
Note that this topic could give us an opportunity for another CONTROVERSIES IN CONVERSATION. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will start a new discussion.