The Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program has created space to expand opportunities for organizations like Shoulder to Shoulder to further explore and interrogate the opportunities and the challenges of pursuing religious pluralism in the United States. The ways in which this program creates space for dialogue and critical conversations, relationship-building, and resource-sharing can help those of us doing the work in the field find new models for more equitable intra-, inter-, and multi-faith engagement, thoughtfully navigate the distinction between equality and equity when it comes to religious pluralism, and set norms and generate shared definitions for this work that does not center or prioritize one religious tradition over another or none.
As we look ahead, how can we move beyond mere tolerance of our differences to creating solidarity with one another despite them so that we may build a nation, and a world, where all have the rights and freedoms to live well and to thrive? We have a lot of work to do in order to answer this question and realize this lofty vision. Many seeds have been planted through this excellent program; may we one day enjoy the fruits of our labor, whether in the near future or in the generations to come.
Nina Fernando is the executive director of the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign in Washington, DC.