On the heels of the fatal shootings of school children in Uvalde, Texas, and the continuation of mass shootings across the country, a large number of people are expected to gather for an interfaith march and music festival on June 12.
“Whether it’s a mass shooting in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, an attack on Taiwanese churchgoers in Orange County, California, or a massacre of children and their teachers in Uvalde, Texas, it is all the same evil,” said Rev. Daniel Tamm, a deacon at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and chair of the Interfaith Solidarity Network (ISN).
The organization, Tamm said, embraces the “principals of nonviolence,” and supports racial justice, eco-justice and housing justice.
After a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the event named, “Together Again Rally” will start at 2:15 p.m., at Zelzah Park in Granada Hills, followed by a four-block march from the park to Temple Ahavat Shalom in Porter Ranch where the newly added interfaith music festival will take place at the temple’s outdoor amphitheater at 4 p.m.
Breaking Down Barriers
“This is a way to connect with your community and to get that sense of what we can do together,” said Tiffany Shine, chair of ISN’s Rally Committee and a member of Temple Beth Hillel.
Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of LA Family Housing, and Cal State University Northridge professor Loraine Lundquist, a physicist and climate activist, are scheduled to be the main speakers at the rally.
The San Fernando Valley-based ISN organization is relatively new, described as “born in resistance” in 2017, after the election of former President Donald Trump, and the nation subsequently became more openly polarized with rising hate crimes and a wave of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant public sentiment.
Two friends, Marsha Novak and Soraya Deen — a Jew and a Muslim respectively — started ISN as a nonprofit joined by a diverse mix of religious and social justice groups throughout the valley.
The organization has been vocal in its support of the unhoused and its stance against hate crimes. Following the mass shooting in Buffalo last month, Rev. Tamm reiterated the organization’s stance.
“These were people who were simply picking up a few food items, or serving as workers at the store … We note with disgust that the suspect proclaimed a racist motivation in the shootings in this predominantly Black neighborhood. The evil of murder in the name of white supremacy must be rooted out … we pray that people everywhere stand in solidarity with communities of color under attack,” Tamm said.
The organization notes that racist attacks, including antisemitic incidents, reached an all-time high last year. Flyers in April disseminated in Beverly Hills blamed Jews for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Music Festival to Reflect Valley’s Diverse Faiths
“The purpose of this event is to bring us together, share our faiths and learn more about each other,” said Rabbi Jim Kaufman, an Interfaith Solidarity Network founding board member and rabbi emeritus of Temple Beth Hillel in North Hollywood.
“The cure for xenophobia is knowledge of the other person. That is what ISN is all about.”
“This is a way to connect with your community and to get that sense of what we can do together,” added Shine.
The festival will feature the music of various religious traditions including from the Sikhs of LA, Bethel Lutheran, Temple Aliyah and Cantor Mike Stein, H.O.P.E.’s House Christian Ministries and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
“To be doing music that brings people together and a diverse group of people together is powerful and wonderful, and what we need more of,” said Mylene Marie, music director at Bethel Lutheran Church in Tarzana and chair of ISN’s Interfaith Music Festival.
The Sikhs will be playing the same instruments their prophets played some 500 years ago, including a plucked instrument called the Rabab, said Sarbjit Singh of the Sikhs of Los Angeles.
“Music and poetry is one of the easiest ways to get in tune to the Divine message that is coming through us,” Singh said. “We’re all children of God.”
“It will be a baby Coachella Festival with a little bit of faith and soul,” Shine said.
“We will march against racist hate and gun violence and rally for social justice and transformational change so that all human beings may live in dignity and peace,” said Tamm.
Registration for the 4th Annual Interfaith Solidarity March and the 1st Annual Interfaith Music Festival starts at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, at Zelzah Park, 11609 Zelzah Ave., in Granada Hills. The event will end with a 5:30 p.m. dinner provided by the Sikhs of LA at Temple Ahavat Shalom, 18200 Rinaldi Place, in Porter Ranch.