December 12, 2012

To Continue Our Critical Work, We Need You: Support the Pluralism Project Today

Dear Friends,

On the morning of August 6th, the phone rang at our Arrow Street office. The reporter from the Boston Globe asked: “Was there anyone at the Pluralism Project who could speak about Sikhism and the Sikh experience in Boston?” The murder of six members of the Sikh community at a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin just the day before had catapulted Sikhs into the national and international spotlight. Long-time friend of the Pluralism Project and my colleague, Harpreet Singh immediately came to mind. As a founding member of the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy organization founded post-9/11 to protect the civil rights of Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike, Harpreet is no stranger to the bigotry and hatred leveled at the Sikh community in recent years.

In June we had been with Harpreet at the Milford Gurdwara Sahib in Milford, MA during a two-week interfaith leadership seminar. During our visit, Harpreet and others welcomed our group of nearly twenty-five theological school students for the Sunday morning service and langar meal. There, we experienced the radical hospitality that is foundational to the Sikh faith. For many of the participants in the interfaith leadership seminar, the trip to Milford was their first visit to a gurdwara; the course their first introduction to Sikhism. In addition to personal encounters with members of the Sikh community, the seminarians previewed our forthcoming online version of On Common Ground: World Religions in America, with a thorough introduction the Sikh tradition. When news broke about the shootings in Oak Creek, members of the seminar cohort shared information about solidarity events they were organizing or planning to attend in support of the Sikh community; they were able to translate their new knowledge of the Sikh faith and community into conversations, sermons, and appropriate responses of support. More so, several participants noted that the visit to the gurdwara gave them the confidence and connections they needed to reach out to the Sikh community during a time of tragedy.

Our colleague Harpreet reminds us that while the scale of the tragedy in Oak Creek was significant, this was not an isolated incident. The year before, two elderly Sikhs were gunned down in Elk Grove, California, one of many unsolved murders; and the persistent stream of arson attacks on mosques around the nation are sobering reminders that our work not only remains unfinished but is more critical now than ever. Teachers, clergy, scholars, and civic leaders can—and often do—play an important role in shaping public discourse about religion. For over two decades the work of the Pluralism Project has been to provide these individuals—many of whom are now our friends, affiliates, and alumni—with timely resources to enhance their teaching, preaching, and serving in multi-religious America.

Like many non-profits in these challenging times, we face a future that is uncertain. Your tax-deductible gift (see below) will help to sustain this critical work. Whether we are connecting reporters to community members, educating seminarians, or even introducing Harvard undergraduates to religion in America through the case method, our work at the Pluralism Project is vital to the public conversation.

In this season of light, we give thanks for your continued partnership as together we build a culture of pluralism that challenges the darkness of bigotry and hatred.

With gratitude,

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Pluralism Project.

Your gift of:

  • $25 could defray the travel costs of a student researcher
  • $100 could assist in the hosting of a film screening
  • $500 could support case study research
  • $1000 could fund a work study student for an entire academic year
  • $5,000 could make possible a summer fellowship program
  • $10,000 could cover the partial salary of one of our staff members

To help sustain our work, you may send a check by mail or donate online at

Thank you!