As many of you know, for the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to tour with Divided We Fall, leading dialogues on campuses and communities in 200 cities across the country. And I began to notice something — a rising generation of people like me were tired of partisan politics and hungry for meaningful social action. Many of us found it in the campaign of President Obama. And while I’m proud to have worked on his campaign, it’s clear now that we need more than a president to heal and repair our country. We need a movement — organized not around a political party or a single issue, but a shared moral vision for a better world.
Last fall, a band of students came together in the Common Ground Campaign to imagine what our generation’s movement might look and feel like. We noticed that we come from different backgrounds — Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Jewish — but we share the same deep moral commitments. And we aren’t alone. Most of us share a sense of moral calling that has nothing to do with political agendas. But religious fundamentalists still hold the monopoly over “morality” on the airwaves and in the halls of power. What would happen if we could channel those moral commitments into visible collective action? Could we form the beginnings of a multifaith movement for justice? Auburn Seminary, a 200-year old multifaith leadership institute, generously offered a home to work on this vision. And so this year, while finishing up at Yale Law School, I joined Auburn’s staff to develop a new movement-building initiative.
Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of GROUNDSWELL — a multifaith network that connects, mobilizes, and amplifies the moral center around urgent social causes. In our first campaign, we are generating a groundswell of community this ten-year anniversary of 9/11. We are chronicling, connecting, and resourcing events in all 50 states that bring people together in hope and healing. We’re inviting people to see themselves as part of one movement that will eclipse anti-Muslim rhetoric and stand for open communities. And we’re collecting Ribbons of Hope from across the country and around the world, which we will weave into a diverse tapestry to represent the groundswell during 9/11/11 ceremonies. (Just click here to send your ribbon to NYC for free).
Finally, we’re organizing a special event in New York City on Tuesday, Sept 6th. It’s a teach-in entitled “Out of the Shadows of 9/11: Millennials, Movement-Building, and the Global Groundswell” where I will share the stage with thought leaders to reflect on the last decade and envision the possibilities for a multifaith movement in the coming era. (Live streaming here).
I don’t know where this journey will go. But I’m excited to travel it alongside all of you. More soon!