Waiting for the Spring Together

For the month of February, we are “waiting on the world to change.” Recently, my interfaith colleagues reached out to Imam Sohail Chaudhry of the Islamic Center of Greater Lansing. We did so to offer support to the local Muslim community in this climate of increased fear and hatred fueled by a certain candidate in the presidential primary campaign. Grateful, he suggested we continue working the long strategies as well as offering some short-term public encouragement. In the short term, I’ve asked Imam Chaudhry to preach here in February. In the long term, we will continue to partner with the community to provide opportunities to learn more about the local Muslim community and Islam.

As we are waiting on the world to change, we can educate ourselves. Below, I’ve listed some learning opportunities for the month of February open to all members of the community. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities – explore East Lansing even as we prepare to leave (at least the Grove Street building), and learn more about Black History (as we to seek an end to racism) and Islam (as we work to counter Islamaphobia in America).

Thursday, February 11 at 5:00 p.m.
at Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s Big Ten Room
MSU begins the Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series with Edwin Black, award-winning New York Times bestselling author, whose work explores issues related to such topics as human rights, genocide and hate, corporate corruption, and historical investigation.

Wednesday, February 17 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
at Michigan State University (MSU Wonders C103)
There will be a panel discussion with Rabbi Dana Benson (MSU Hillel), Imam Sohail Chaudhry (Islamic Center of East Lansing), and Rev. Jenn Tafel (Q-CROSS@MSU). The panelists will speak to how faith influences acts of solidarity and the importance of understanding another person’s context and frame of reference. Cultural sensitivity and the desire to engage respectfully with others begin with education and compassion.

Thursday, February 18 at 5:00 p.m.
at Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s Big Ten Room
Cornel West, thought-provoking speaker, social commentator, and academic who has written more than 20 books, is best known for his classics Race Matters and Democracy Matters. He examines the crossroads of race, gender, and class in American society.

Sunday, February 21 at UUCGL
Imam Chaudhry will speak in the morning worship services (9:15 and 11:15) and again at 7:00 p.m. for our Third-Sunday Evening, when we will show the film American Muslims: Fact v Fiction.

Thursday, February 25 at 5:00 p.m.
at Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s Auditorium
As one of the Little Rock Nine, Ernest Green and eight classmates were the first to integrate Little Rock, Arkansas’ Central High School in 1954. He went on to earn his master’s degree at MSU and has worked in both the public and private sectors, working to address inequities in labor and education.