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Building a Hate-Free Minnesota 

This was such a busy #Interfaith summer Augsburg University, at the Interfaith Institute. A peek at some of our work!

In July, we co-hosted Interfaith Institute Augsburg University, a statewide summit on hate crimes prevention with our state wide partner Minnesota Multifaith Network and our national partner Shoulder to Shoulder. We were delighted that over 50 faith, community, philanthropy, academic, and government leaders joined us. The First Lady of Minnesota Gwen Waltz opened the summit (you can see from the pics she stayed and listened to the discussion), followed by Dr. Anantanand Rambachan who set the tone, we heard from Rev Jim Bear Jacobs who invoked storytelling and reminded us interfaith spaces need a deep understanding of Native communities and histories. We were blessed to have Rev Cassandra Lawrence of Shoulder to Shoulder lead us through a mapping exercise and asset analysis of hate prevention resources. 

Our director Najeeba Syeed led the group through a discussion of action steps and we were blessed to hear from Dr. Jen Kilps of  Minnesota Multi-Faith Network who shared the history of recent hate crimes activities.

Out of this convening on our campus grew a renewal of ties for Augsburg to Islamic Resource Group. Imam Tamim Saidi, who gave a closing blessing, is now joining us in Augsburg classes to help increase our students’ literacy on Islam. Rabbi Adam Spilker will be enriching our students’ understanding of Judaism in our classes. 

We are so thankful for all who joined us and for the new friends and allies that were made. 

Our director wrote about the rural implications for rural Minnesota here based on her own research as well:  https://www.augsburg.edu/interfaith/2023/07/24/reflections-on-statewide-summit-on-hate-prevention/

Our director Professor Syeed will be presenting on the issue of rural interfaith work with Dr. Jen Kilps next week for a statewide network of rural Minnesota communities. There is a hunger for this type of research across the nation. 

We are excited to be enriching our classrooms with the resources we’ve discovered and will continue to build these partnerships!