WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Government, religious, and community members came together today at Temple Israel with the goal of talking unified peace strategies for our community.
"Faith leaders and government leaders and leaders of organizations came to the same room to talk about the same issue," said Rabbi Mike Harvey of Temple Israel, who led the discussion.
And that issue is stopping hate and fear from spreading through our community.
The Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette hosted Mayor John Dennis, District 26 State Representative-Elect Chris Campbell, leaders from the YWCA, Lafayette Transitional Housing, and Food Finders.
This meeting calls as we just passed the one month mark of the shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead. Eleven were killed at a synagogue in New Jersey just a few weeks ago, and most recently, last night, 12 were killed at a country bar in California.
These leaders want to make sure this kind of violence does not happen in the Greater Lafayette area.
“We cannot stop sometimes the things that occur but we can try to prevent them from happening because this kind of community is building itself on values that are opposite of hate, opposite of intolerance," he said.
"Whatever faith people have, whatever beliefs, whatever non beliefs they have, we definitely need to fight hatred in this country,” said Chris Campbell.
The group acknowledged the importance of the little things people do to spread the message of understanding.
"The big events are very important, but little events in our community are the ones that bind us together," said Rabbi Harvey.
He said that they want to create a "herd immunity against the pathogen of hate."
"Meaning if enough people around this area beyond tolerance, acceptability and love of one another we create an environment where that kind of radicalization cannot exist," he said.
It was also made clear that all the organizations represented at the meeting should not feel alone in this endeavour.
"We need to work together as communities, as cultures, are religious faiths," said Campbell.
But it's not just a battle for acceptance of religion that they are fighting for.
"African Americans are in danger, Hispanics are in danger, immigrants are in danger, LGBTQ are in danger"
Rabbi Harvey explained what he means by in danger. His intention in saying this is not to cause a panic.
"Their rights are being trampled on, their safety is being taken away they are afraid and the truth is we can no longer hide in our silos, we have to be together."
Both Rabbi Harvey and Campbell said they are encouraged by the turnout today, and hopeful that discussions like these will lead to positive change in our community.