Participant, Walking the Walk Youth Initiative
59th Street Baptist Church
"Diversity is a Fact; Pluralism is an Achievement"
“My first experience with the Interfaith Center’s Walking the Walk Program was THE most important session. It was the Day of Service at the Cobbs Creeks Environmental Education Center which is located near my church. When I first got there, I knew that it wasn’t going to be just some normal day. There were people from all sorts of faiths and races. All of these different people opened my eyes to how big the world actually is.
“Even though I didn’t know anyone outside of my congregation, I felt good about what we were doing and it made me want to get to know the people around me from different walks of life and to see what their religious views were. Religion is a hard topic to talk about amongst your peers because you never how someone will react to the things that you believe in.
“At the first meeting of my Walking the Walk group, Ms. Rachel, our Group Leader, heavily encouraged us to use three little words: they were “WOW”, an ‘amazement’ word; “OOPS” an ‘apologetic’ word; and “OUCH” the word used if you are offended, or if you may have thought that someone else would’ve been offended. I said “OUCH” when someone said that she felt that people in prison couldn’t read, (maybe she just worded it wrong). I’ve never been to prison, god forbid, but I know a few people there and they all can read.
“That one little moment brought me out of my shell. It made it possible for me to express my feelings for something and not just live with what goes on around me. Interfaith dialogue is about taking a diverse group of people and changing it into a pluralistic group of people. As Diana Eck says, ‘Diversity is a fact. Pluralism is an achievement.’”