Joy Barnitz, the new Tri-City Interfaith Council president, says, “The vibrant diversity of faith communities in the Tri-Cities area is very important to me. As a Christian and a scientist, I am fascinated by the connections that can be found when we open our hearts and minds to something new."
"This Tri-City Interfaith event," she continued, "like all our activities, opens up a safe space for curious people to come together and discover commonalities that provide greater understanding, empathy, and compassion for our neighbors.”
Robert Hoffman, member of the Fremont Baha’i Faith and the Tri-City Interfaith Council, is this year’s emcee. Hoffman says, “Last year was my first time to attend the Harmony Day Celebration. I was impressed with the number of faiths represented, the variety of information exchanged, and all the interest and caring shown. This event and joining the Council keep increasing my faith in the goodness in humanity and life.”
Moina Shaiq, Tri-City Interfaith Council member and Founder of Meet A Muslim, says, “This year’s program on Zoom will be both different and the same as our past programs. We will have our usual peace music, interfaith speakers, and the small groups that everyone loves."
Because the event will be online, Shaiq noted, "We will miss having our personal interactions at the faith information booths, but we will have a fun polling game instead.”
During the event, six people will speak about the resilience they find in their faith or cultural traditions: Robert Hoffman (Baha’i Faith), Shari Gent (Buddhism), Diane Barnett (Christian), Avi Schulman (Jewish), Hina Mukhtar (Muslim), and Soni Kaur (Sikh Religion).
Jeff Spencer, former Tri-City Interfaith Council president and pastor of Niles Discovery Church says, “I believe that by sharing how our various spiritual traditions help us build resilience in these challenging times, we will embolden compassion, unity, and hope as we address the pressing justice issues of our day. That's why the focus of our Interfaith Harmony Day event connects to the United Nations’ Interfaith Harmony Week theme of ‘The Diaspora -- a Force for Positive Change.’”
The Tri-City Interfaith Council organizes this event during World Interfaith Harmony Week, which was established in 2010 by the United Nations. People with or without any faith tradition are welcome to attend this annual event. Co-sponsors for this event include Compassionate Fremont, and the Fremont, Union City and Alameda County Human Relations Commissions.