15 organizations participate in White House event and pledge to work together to reinvigorate American traditions of inclusion, freedom and cooperation among those with different beliefs

December 17, 2015
Contact: Cherilyn Crowe // ccrowe@BJConline.org // cell: 202-670-5877

Know Your Neighbor logoUpdates:
See photos from the event on Facebook.

Read about the White House convening

WASHINGTON — Today, a diverse group of 15 organizations – including the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty – is launching an innovative project titled “Know Your Neighbor” (KYN) and participating in a White House convening on religious pluralism.

Created by Gurwin Singh Ahuja, a young Sikh man concerned about his own community’s challenges, Know Your Neighbor calls on all Americans to share their own beliefs as well as understand and respect those of others. The coalition believes that dialogue is desperately needed to reduce religious tensions and maximize the strength of our nation’s diverse heritage.

BJC Executive Director Brent Walker emphasized the need to move past stereotypes and look out for our neighbors’ well-being. “Our religiously plural democracy and the religious freedom we enjoy depends not just on constitutional protection against governmental interference; it also depends on the willingness of American citizens on a personal level to understand and respect each other, including our differences,” Walker said. “The Know Your Neighbor initiative encourages all of us to do so, ensuring America remains true to its heritage and promise.”

The website for Know Your Neighbor features a pledge that all are encouraged to sign, promising to get to know people with other beliefs and “speak out against hatred and misinformation.” Visit knowyourneighbor.us for more information and details.

The members of the Know Your Neighbor coalition are the ACLU, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Center for Inquiry, Hindu American Seva Communities, Interfaith Alliance, Interfaith Youth Core, Islamic Networks Group (ING), Muslim Advocates, National Council of Churches, National Sikh Campaign, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Religions for Peace USA, The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, and Sikh Coalition.

About Know Your Neighbor
Know Your Neighbor (KYN) intends to foster a nationwide dialogue on the country’s religious diversity and general awareness of faith traditions. This coalition believes that such a dialogue is desperately needed to reduce religious tensions and maximize the strength of our nation’s diverse heritage. All Americans are encouraged to sign the organization’s pledge, available at knowyourneighbor.us:

Our strength as a nation comes from the ability to hold true to our own faith and values while defending the religious freedom of our neighbors. I pledge to get to know my fellow Americans of all traditions and systems of belief and to share my own. Moreover, I will speak out against hatred and misinformation against others when I encounter it.

“Celebrating and Protecting America’s Tradition of Religious Pluralism”
UPDATE: The program is now archived and available at this link.

The White House convening titled “Celebrating and Protecting America’s Tradition of Religious Pluralism” will begin at 1:00pm EST on Dec. 17 and be streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live. It will feature several speakers who will discuss the topics being addressed by Know Your Neighbor. BJC Executive Director Brent Walker will participate in a panel discussion during the convening.