April 2021

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Foreign Policy Virtual Dialogue: ‘How to Stop Fake News’
Fake News 3From Foreign Policy website: “With a growing majority of people relying on the digital information space for their daily news, the lack of editorial and fact-checking responsibility on many platforms has allowed misinformation and disinformation to proliferate. FP [Foreign Policy], in partnership with Northwestern University’s Buffett Institute for Global Affairs, recently hosted a solutions-oriented dialogue about fake news, how it starts and spreads, and how to stop it.” This recently live-streamed dialogue has been archived and can be viewed by clicking here.

DOJ Providing Language-Based Help to Report Hate Crimes
Various entities within the U.S. Department of Justice have collaborated to develop a webpage with translated information on how to report a hate crime to local police and the FBI. These instruction are provided in Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Japanese and Arabic. The page also includes information on how to request an interpreter when calling the FBI tip line. Please share this information with relevant AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] communities and stakeholders.

90% of Black ‘Nones’ Believe in God; Fewer Pray, Attend
One of the fastest-growing religious groups in the United States is the “Nones”—as in “none of the above.” Those in this group don’t feel committed enough to any religious group to choose to wear that group’s label. However, they are by no means monolithic. They may range from non-believing to uncertain to believing-but-not-joining. For example, in research done by the Pew Research Center, the share of Black Americans who do not identify with any religion is increasing, as is true among Americans overall. Still, the vast majority of religiously unaffiliated Black Americans believe in God, and about half pray regularly, although few attend religious services, according to a new blog post based on a recent Pew Research Center survey. And in guided, small group discussions, unaffiliated Black adults expressed a distinction between believing in a higher power and engaging in practices common among religiously affiliated Black Americans.

Be COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador on Facebook: Here’s HowVaccine 3
​If you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, Orange County Government encourages you to add the “I GOT MY COVID-19 Vaccine!” Facebook Frame to your profile photo. You can follow the example of Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (see photo)!
Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Facebook profile
  2. Click the camera icon next to your profile photo
  3. Click “Add Frame”
  4. Search for: “Orange County, FL – I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine!”; For Spanish, please search “Orange County, FL -¡Ya me vacuné contra el COVID-19! – Spanish”
  5. Reposition as needed
  6. Click “Use as Profile Picture”

March to May Sees Cluster of Religiously Significant Days
In the world of faith traditions, the past few weeks saw a lot of worshipping and celebrating. For the JewsPassover began on Saturday evening, March 27, and ended on Sunday, April 4. Holi, one of the most significant Hindu and Indian cultural festivals, was celebrated on March 29. Much of the Christian world celebrated Palm Sunday on March 28, Good Friday on April 2 and Easter Sunday, April 4. April 13 was Vaisakhi, a highly significant day for the Sikhs (which will actually be celebrated by the Sikh Society of Central Floria on Sunday, April 18, see item below). From April 13 to May 12, Muslims will be celebrating Ramadan. For 12 days beginning April 19, Baha’is will celebrate the Festival of Ridván. The Birthday of the Buddha is typically celebrated by Buddhists in April or May, depending on regional customs. May 6 is National Day of Reason, a Secular event for humanistsatheists and other secularists and freethinkers in response to the National Day of Prayer.

Sikhs Celebrating Vaisakhi April 17, 18; Public Welcome
The Sikh Society of Central Florida (2527 West State Road 426, Oviedo, FL 32765) is celebrating Vaisakhi on April 17 and 18. Vaisakhi is connected with a major turning point in the development of Sikhism. “#SikhVaisakhi is a festival to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa. Often it is misrepresented as a harvest festival or even the Sikh new year. In April 1699 the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji tested the commitment of thousands of Sikhs. The first five to pass his test, were initiated into a new order, called the Khalsa. These five men came to be known as the Panj Pyare (five beloved).” Click here to learn more of the story. Or learn even more by visiting the Sikh Gurdwara (Temple) of the Sikh Society of Central Florida. Services will be held from 7:15 to 8:30 pm on Saturday, April 17, and from 11:20 to 1:00 pm on Sunday, April 18. Both services will be followed by a langar (a communal vegetarian meal).

Invitation: Masjid Al Hayy to Host Community Iftar April 19
Masjid Al HayyThe outreach team of Masjid Al Hayy (786 Myrtle Street, Sanford, FL 32779) is inviting the public to join them for an Community Iftar on Monday, April 19, at which those present will learn about the significance of an Iftar—“the breaking of the fast”—as well as why the month of Ramadan is so special to Muslims. Dr. Joel Hunter will be a guest presenter at the event—which starts at 6:30 pm, will conclude at 9:00 pm and will take place outdoors in the masjid’s courtyard. Organizers request that all attendees dress modestly and follow CDC guidelines at all times. Instead of eating the Iftar meal together, everyone will be given a delicious meal to go. Register for the event at Eventbrite. Learn more about the history, construction and architecture of this beautiful masjid (mosque) by clicking here.

Zoom Panel to Look at Issues Facing Muslims Today
The public is invited to join a Zoom event on Tuesday,  April 20, from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm, titled “The Civil Rights of Muslims Today: A Conversation.” The event will feature a a panel discussion about issues impacting Muslims—issues such as discrimination, immigration and the root causes of Islamophobia. The goal of the event is to create greater awareness about issues impacting Muslims while finding community-based solutions to social issues. Click here to register.

Central Florida Group to Host Thrive Community Townhall
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that business as usual isn’t cutting it. To keep working towards a better Central Florida, the Central Florida Foundation isn’t shying away from the big, complex social problems facing the region—actually, they’re running straight towards them using the Thrive Central Florida framework. But they’re asking for help from you. They’re asking you to join them for the very first Thrive Community Townhall to help inform this design process. Participants will split into breakout rooms where the Thrive fellows and facilitators will share the current facts and figures for each of the five focus areas (economic development, healthcare, livability, education and community/social connection). There you’ll share your thoughts, reactions, feelings and potential actions that could be taken. When is this event? Friday, April 23, from 9:00 to 11:00 am. Who should attend? Anyone in Central Florida who wants to share ideas and is tired of business as usual. Nonprofits should invite their clients. And you don’t need to be an expert! The event will be held virtually, because of COVID. Space is limited. ​Make plans to join. Click here for more information and to register.

Nemours Mobile Clinic to Offer Free Health Checks, VaccinesNemours 3
Nemours Mobile Clinic will offer free well-child checks and vaccines (not including COVID-19) on Saturday, April 24, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, at Harbor House of Central Florida (1706 East Semoran Blvd., Suite 127, Apopka, FL 32703). Appointments are required (phone 407-650-7715). Please share this information with your communities. This service is for uninsured children 17 years old and younger. Family income must be less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

‘Candid Conversations: The Black Church’ Now on YouTube
For those who were unable to view “Candid Conversations: The Black Church” last month on WUCF, you can now view the recording of this live virtual discussion. From the WUCF website, you can also access WUCF’s YouTube playlist of past virtual event recordings. You’re invited to one more “Black Church” documentary! Here are the details: WUCF has invited local filmmakers to produce digital shorts examining the role of the church in their community. WUCF invites you, on April 26 at 6:30 pm, for a preview of those productions—“Beyond the 4 Walls” and “Rainbow Action,” as well as live virtual conversation with the filmmakers—Thamara Bejarano and Ramces Rouzard—moderated by WMFE’s Talia Blake. Register here. For information about WUCF’s upcoming programs and events, sign up for the newsletter.

DREAM Session 6: Moving Into Action: Becoming an Ally
DREAM Session 6: Moving into Action: Becoming an Ally will be held on Thursday, April 29, from 6:30 pm to 8:30pm. In this culminating workshop in a six-part virtual series, participants will pull together the knowledge, skills and practices learned over the course of the series and put them into practice. Using real-life conflict techniques from the community, participants will work in groups to analyze the scenarios, consider common pitfalls of addressing conflicts and explore approaches that are more positive. Integrating reflective practice and the Principles for How We Treat Each Other, participants will consider the new set of tools in their toolkits to navigate the challenges they face daily in their faith, community and spheres of influence. This workshop, like the others in the series, will offer a bibliography with suggested readings and resources to encourage continued learning, conversation and exploration beyond the workshop setting. Click here to register. The series is a joint venture between the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College and the Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Week of the Family Sponsoring Essay and Art Contests
WOTFThe Week of the Family 2021, scheduled for November 6-13, has taken as its theme:  “My Family: My Compass!” Students of all ages can participate in a couple aspects of the event right now: an essay competition and an art competition. But they’ll need to move fast because the essay deadline is April 30, and the art deadline is May 17. Click here to learn the details, age categories and prizes the winning essays will receive. And click here to learn similar details concerning the art competition. To learn more about the Week of the Family, click here.

Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty Looks at Race
The spring edition of the BJC’s Report from the Capital features a series of conversations hosted by Charles Watson Jr. that focus on the intersection of race and religious liberty. Consider new perspectives for congregations in a new book, learn about the legacies of Bayard Rustin and Prathia Hall, re-think “Religious Freedom Day,” and more. Plus, Amanda Tyler shares how religious liberty has been white too long, Holly Hollman looks at religious liberty and presidential transitions, and there’s a webinar about combating Christian nationalism that was held in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. Click here for all that and more.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Invites You to an Iftar Dinner
The Islamic Center of Orlando invites the public to its 4th Annual Interfaith Iftar with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, city commissioners and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. This annual Iftar dinner is to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and to highlight the contributions of Muslim Americans in Central Florida. Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. During this month an approximate 1.8 billion Muslims across the globe fast and abstain from earthly pleasures. It is a time for prayer and reflection so followers of Islam can become closer to God. This is also a time for families to come together and celebrate. For the past four years, the City of Orlando has honored Ramadan by hosting an Iftar dinner. This year’s event will include poems, music, prayer, storytelling and more. Although the pandemic has changed the ways the participants come together, it has not changed the City of Orlando’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. On May 3, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, you are invited to enjoy a night full of opportunities for personal growth, cultural expression and much more. Click here to register.

Eboo Patel: The Intersection of Interfaith and Racial Equalityeboo patel
The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida invites the public to a live virtual event from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on Tuesday, May 4, featuring Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. Dr. Patel is a respected leader on national issues of religious diversity, civic engagement and the intersection of racial equity and interfaith cooperation. He is the author of four books and dozens of articles and is a frequent keynote speaker at colleges and universities, philanthropic convenings, and civic gatherings, both in person and virtually. He served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. Dr. Patel writes in his book Acts of Faith: “I thought about the meaning of pluralism in a world where the forces that seek to divide us are strong. I came to one conclusion: We have to save each other. It’s the only way to save ourselves.” Advance registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Bonus! If you’ve missed previous virtual programs at the Holocaust Center, here’s good news: You can access the archive of recordings and watch them at your leisure. Simply click here.

Interfaith Discussion to Be Held via Zoom on May 12
On Wednesday, May 12, the monthly Interfaith Discussion sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida will be held on Zoom from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Topic for the evening’s exchange is: Religion and Race. In what was has your faith tradition or worldview turned a blind eye to—or exacerbated—racial inequity? In what ways has it mitigated racial inequity. Has it played a positive and a negative role at different times in its history? And what is the best way to correct wrong collective behaviors of the past? Please log in a few minutes before 7:00 just so you have time to deal with any failures to launch. Our Zoom hosts for the meeting are the Baha’is of Orange County EastClick here to join the Zoom Meeting. Meeting ID: 834 6828 6041. Password: 537979. Dial by your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) or +1 929 205 6099 US (New York). The monthly discussions are respectful, open and candid, and the participants represent a variety of faith traditions as well as those who question the validity of faith altogether. For more information, phone 321-228-4599.

Interfaith Council Asks for Your Help with Funding
If you appreciate what’s being achieved by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, we would welcome your support. Please send your contribution to: Interfaith Council of Central Florida, PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Thank you for your assistance.

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”—E.B. White

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  James Coffin, Executive Director
PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310
|T  321-228-4599   | E  jim@interfaithfl.org
| W  https://interfaithfl.org/

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