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We the People: united in diversity, pursuing peace and justice

On January 20, 2017, a group of 50 community members joined with one another – unified together and celebrating the voices of those who advocate for the marginalized. IJPC partnered with Aly Wilson, a volunteer, and other collaborating organizations to not only give a platform for activists to speak about unity but also a chance for people to watch President Donald Trump’s inaugural address. Seven speakers took the podium covering a wide range of topics and issues addressing the same prompt, “What does a just and peaceful America look like and how do we get there?” Speakers included:

  • Karen Dabdoub of CAIR speaks

    Aly Wilson, Kentucky community member and volunteer

  • Jose Cabrera, Immigration Program Organizer at IJPC
  • Troy Bronsink, Founder and Director of the Hive
  • Karen Dabdoub, Executive Director of CAIR Ohio, Cincinnati Chapter
  • Regina Bajorek, ASL Volunteer Instructor at Redwood 
  • Lynn Williams, Lead Organizer at the Contact Center
  • Quanita Roberson, Founder and Director of Nzuzu Coaching

“I felt called to do something, but I had no idea what. I had an idea to gather people from different communities that share similar concerns to bring about discussion, to build bridges and to empower people to pursue and protect justice. With the help of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, we made this event a reality,” Aly shared as she told the story of her inspiration for the We the People event. Throughout her remarks, Aly shared the importance of civil discourse and that agreement in another’s beliefs weren’t necessary to be an advocate for one another. Her call to action in her remarks was simple and clear, “Seek out knowledge, listen to and accept one another. Go out and do good works. Be watchful and vigilant in protecting one another’s rights and freedoms.”

Crowd Gathered to Listen to Speakers

Other speakers similarly remained hopeful about the power of the people and the resiliency of our country. Speakers emphasized community, compassion, action, and self-care. Quanita shared, “This election has revealed our collective wounds. In order to heal, we must face the truth, mourn together, and drop our fears. Let us work together to balance our relationships with love and power.”

Collaborative project for attendees

At noon, the inaugural address was broadcasted. Community members had a chance to watch and process together together. After the address, the afternoon concluded with a video of Regina Bajorek and her students performing “We Shall Overcome” in sign language as Peter, Paul and Mary played throughout St. Michael’s. Attendees also had a chance to take action. A representative from Progress Ohio invited people to write letters regarding the Affordable Care Act to be sent to Senator Rob Portman’s office. There also was a large collaborative project displayed where attendees could draw/write a response to the speaker prompt on squares of fabric and then put them up within an outline of the United States demonstrating the hopes and wants of “we the people”. 

Related press from event: