All for one, one for all. On Saturday, March 6, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Community (VCIC) exercised this statement. In Randolph-Macon’s Blackwell Auditorium, the “Standing Together” event was put on for the Ashland community and the general public. R-MC’s Office of the Chaplain and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology took the initiative of wiping away isolation by integrating and welcoming the Muslim community at Randolph-Macon.
The VCIC works with other communities, schools, and businesses on a daily basis and was gracious enough to include R-MC in the mix. Their goal to erase ostracizing actions and to marginalize prejudices is a movement that has been expanding for some time, showing no signs of transgression. The cause preaches equality, and equality speaks for itself: peace.
Through workshops, retreats, and enlightening customized programs, the VCIC has done more than just raise awareness on the topic of equality. This organization has made a difference through their efforts, and they are inviting R-MC to help contribute to their global excellence.
The event opened with an interfaith panel discussion led by the CEO of VCIC, Jonathan C. Zur. The discussion revolved around countless open-ended questions that allowed for balanced and open interpretation. Questions like “What has been your experience facing discrimination based on your religious identity?” and “What are steps individuals can take to make religion more inclusive?” really set the tone for productive conversation.
Before the event took place, R-MC Chaplain Kendra Grimes stated, “Partnering with VCIC for this event invites not only our campus, but the broader community to join us in this important conversation.”
Not only did the event do just that, but Chaplain Grimes could not have been more correct. Positive mindsets such as hers are what keeps the vast efforts of the VCIC alive.
There is no better opportunity out there if one is in search of looking to increase their knowledge, spread a noble word, and pay their respects to a diverse group of individuals. Religion exists for individuals to invest faith in, and for some, to help create an identity. An individual’s formed identity should not be discriminated against due to mere differences. If culture, society, religion, and any other sub-group of this world would be able to cooperate effortlessly, then perhaps “world peace” would not seem so farfetched.
A special thanks goes out to the wonderful VCIC organization, and all outside helpers and communities involved in this event and mission.
-Ian Ragland ’17, Junior News Editor