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R-MC to Host “Standing Together” on March 6

Feb 01, 2016

Inclusive communities logoRandolph-Macon College will host "Standing Together" on Sunday, March 6, 2016 from 2-3:30 p.m. in Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC Center for the Performing Arts (205 Henry St., Ashland, Virginia 23005). This event is free and open to the public. Map and Directions

Sponsored by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) and R-MC's Office of the Chaplain and Department of Sociology and Anthropology, "Standing Together" is an initiative to bring diverse groups together to speak out and stand with the Muslim community and others who are marginalized.

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities works with schools, businesses, and communities to achieve success by addressing prejudices, in all forms, in order to improve academic achievement, increase workplace productivity, and enhance local trust. Through workshops, retreats, and customized programs that raise knowledge, motivation, and skills, VCIC develops leaders who work together to achieve success throughout the Commonwealth.

"When R-MC community members heard increased anti-Muslim rhetoric in the media, there was interest in doing something to speak out and to stand together," says R-MC Chaplain Kendra Grimes, who helped organize the upcoming event. "Partnering with VCIC for this event invites not only our campus but the broader community to join us in this important conversation."

Grimes explains that Bishop Young Jin Cho of the Virginia Annual Conference was part of the initial press conference event signing the pledge to Stand Together in Richmond, Virginia.

"As a United Methodist college, we are grateful for the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, which explicitly asserts rights and freedoms for all religions," she says. "We welcome all to this important, informative event."

Panel Discussion
The event will begin with an interfaith panel discussion, which will be moderated by Jonathan C. Zur, president & CEO of VCIC.

Panel participants include: Dr. Imad Damaj, founder and president of Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs and VCU faculty member; the Reverend Melanie Mullen, downtown missioner, St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Dr. Archana Pathak, VCU faculty member and member of the local Hindu community; and R-MC Religious Studies Professor Shoshanna Schechter-Shaffin, executive director of ALEPH-Alliance for Jewish Renewal.

The panel discussion will center around the following questions:

What has been your experience facing discrimination based on your religious identity (or your perceived religious identity)?

How have you responded when you have faced discrimination?

How have others around you responded?

What does "standing together" mean to you?

How does your religious and social teaching inform your understanding of solidarity and standing together?

What are steps individuals can take to make the region more inclusive?

Following the panel discussion, audience members will move into small-group conversations that will be facilitated by members of the Randolph-Macon College community.

For more information, contact R-MC Chaplain Kendra Grimes at (804) 752-7374 or