Know Your Neighbor New Year’s Resolutions Campaign

Know Your Neighbor New Year's Resolutions Campaign
January 8th-15th, 2018

We've updated this page with social media posts, talking points, and images relating to President Trump’s remarks on immigration - click here to see them.

The New Year is a time for taking stock of where we’ve been and for looking ahead to where we want to go. That’s the meaning of the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.

Most New Year’s resolutions are personal and individual (I resolve to lose weight, I’ll clean out that junk drawer, etc.). This year, however, as we look at where we’ve been, we have to take stock of disturbing developments in our country and the world that we need to respond to not just as individuals but as communities.

Everyone knows that our nation is riven by deep political polarization. But perhaps not everyone sees that underlying this polarization are (among other things) profound changes in the US religious and ethnic landscape. A study in September by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) revealed that, for the first time in our country’s history, white Christians are no longer a majority (43%). The percentage of the population overall identifying as Christian has dropped to 70%, while as recently as 2007 it was 78%. The percentage of the religiously unaffiliated has grown to 24% in the population at large and to 38% among those 18 to 29 years old. The new America is more pluralist and less predominantly white and Christian than in the past.

These changes have spurred a backlash in the form of growing bigotry. To take anti-Muslim prejudice as an example, a 2017 survey by Pew Research found that 41% of Americans believe that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths, 44% that there is a natural conflict between Islam and democracy, and 50% that Islam is not part of mainstream US society. (Here too there is a sharp partisan divide, with Republicans about twice as likely as Democrats to espouse anti-Muslim beliefs.) Such bigoted attitudes naturally feed a rise in hate crimes. Between January and July of this year, there were 63 attacks on mosques in the US, compared to 46 in the same period in 2016—an increase of nearly 50%. Nor are Muslims the only targets. Jews remain the religious group most often targeted by hate crimes, and the Anti-Defamation League reported an unprecedented 167 bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the first three months of 2017.

These realities call for action. Bigoted actions are rooted in bigoted attitudes, and bigoted attitudes are rooted in ignorance and fear. We in ING know the antidote to that ignorance and fear: education about and personal contact with members of minority communities. One study by Stanford and UC Berkeley researchers found that a 10-minute conversation changed people’s attitudes even three months later. A PRRI survey found substantially lower levels of prejudice against Muslims among people who had social contact with them. This is all in line with the “contact hypothesis” long established in social science that holds that face-to-face contact with members of a group is the most effective way to dispel prejudice.

This New Year, therefore, should call us to make one simple resolution: to get to know our neighbors and to encourage and enable encounter and mutual learning among diverse Americans. That’s what ING is doing through our Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters program and indeed through all of our work in promoting interfaith and intercultural education and engagement. If we all join together in this effort, we can defeat intolerance and work toward our vision of an America where all races, ethnicities, and religions live together in harmony and peace.

By sharing on social media you can inspire others to take strides this year to better their community and find others who can help you accomplish your resolution. Come with us and #KnowYourNeighbor.

How To Participate:

Tell us how you plan to be a better neighbor in 2018

You can help encourage others within your networks to be better neighbors in 2018, and have your friends hold you accountable for your resolutions, by posting what changes you will make in 2018 on social media platforms. We hope that you’ll answer one (or more) of the following questions either through tweets, Facebook posts, or videos.

  • What does it mean to be a good neighbor?
  • What does your faith or ethical tradition say about being a good neighbor?
  • What can you (personally) do to be a better neighbor this year?

View a few examples of how others responded:

Here are some actions that individuals and communities can take to be better neighbors:

Individuals (click to open)

Have a quick conversation with someone – 5 minutes or less

  1.  Check out Civity's guides to engaging in dialogue across differences
  2. Have a quick conversation with someone you see at the gas station or while waiting in line at the grocery store. Ask them questions to build understanding, but do not be rude or invasive
  3. Euphrates Institute has this resource for dialogue with those holding different viewpoints: Communication Guidelines--Circle of Trust

Go out for a coffee break with a neighbor or co-worker or talk to your neighbor while sitting on a plane – 20 minutes or less

  1. Invite your neighbor or coworker to coffee and have a chat with some guided conversation topics, or strike up a conversation on a plane
  2.  Check out Civity's guides to engaging in dialogue across differences
  3. Euphrates Institute has this resource for dialogue with those holding different viewpoints: Communication Guidelines--Circle of Trust
  4. For other ideas on questions to ask your neighbor visit Lifehack: 45 Questions To Ask To Get To Know Someone

Invite people to your home to share a meal — hospitality is a great way to get to know others

  1. Invite people whom you know little about into your home or to a safe space over good food to get to know them and engage in dialogue. Make it potluck or a barbecue, or just cook an easy meal yourself

Invite friends or neighbors to your house of worship or community center

  1. Invite friends or neighbors to a special event or religious service to observe how your faith or ethical tradition conducts communal gatherings. Be sure to inform administrators about their attendance and make sure your community or place of worship is ready to welcome visitors
  2. Before the event make sure that you share relevant guidelines on how to dress, behave, and respect specific protocols at various events and houses of worship and give examples of what different services look like
  3. Can’t attend a faith service? Look at Spokane Interfaith Council's video series on various houses of worship called “Meet the Neighbors”

Attend an event hosted by a community that you are not familiar with

  1. Check out the Know Your Neighbor map to find local events like Iftar (breaking the fast) dinners and interfaith gatherings
    • Find a United Religions Initiative cooperation circle in your area
    • Our partner organization Se7enfast is a great resource for finding interfaith iftars (Muslim Ramadan fast-breaking dinner) and events in your area
    • You can find events hosted by the One America Movement that you can participate in in your area by using this form
  2. If there are none in your area, host your own; here are some guidelines for organizing interfaith events and groups

Communities (click to open)

Host a Know Your Neighbor event

Encourage your community members to invite their friends and family to attend a worship service or community event

Practical Tips for Inviting People to Join a Scheduled Worship Service

  1. Check out our guidelines on how to invite those of other traditions to attend a worship service or community event: Tips For Inviting Others To Your House Of Worship
  2.  We want to briefly note that places of worship have services at different times of the day and week. As a guide:
    • Islam: Jummah prayers are typically held at lunchtime or early afternoon on a Friday. If the community is large, there may be two services, one after the other
    • Judaism: Shabbat services may be held on Friday night or Saturday morning, depending on the denomination
    • Christianity: Church worship services take place at various times on a Sunday, typically in the morning and sometimes in the early evening. Some churches have Saturday evening services also
    • Hinduism: Many Hindu communities do not have congregational services on a particular day of the week, but rather encourage individual practice throughout the week, with communal services to mark special celebrations and events at various times of the year
    • Sikhism: Similarly, many Sikh communities encourage individual practice throughout the week rather than communal worship on a particular day. Nonetheless, many Gurdwaras have highest attendance on Sunday
    • Buddhism: Different Buddhist denominations have different schedules of practice. Many American Buddhist communities have communal services on Sunday

Host an interfaith film screening

  1. “Waking in Oak Creek” is a movie on Sikhs and police from Not in Our Town
  2. “20,000 Dialogues” is a program providing several quality films about Islam and Muslims from Unity Productions Foundation
  3. "The Sultan and the Saint" is a historical documentary with live action portions from Unity Productions Foundation that examines the relationship between Saint Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt during the Crusades. Visit the website to find screenings in your area or to set one up

Find other interfaith film screenings in your area by visiting The Seventh Art Stand

Organize a book club around a piece of fiction or non-fiction which explores some aspects of faith, values, culture, or identity

  1. Read and discuss The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, which explores the story of three women who are practitioners of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and their journey towards  dialogue, understanding, and friendship
  2. Read and discuss The Witness of Religion in an Age of Fear by Michael Kinnamon
  3. Read and discuss Of Strangers & Enemies: A Pathway to Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims by John Robert Eagan. An excerpt from the book can be downloaded here
  4. You can always look at the The Daughters of Abraham's recommended reading list as well and use that to create your own reading list

Invite your community to be a part of this campaign

  1. Invite community members to sign up for this campaign as individuals. Encourage them to sign up for emails and participate in the tasks discussed about in the "Individual" section
  2. Join the KYN movement which will provide you with resources and share interfaith events
  3. If you are a leader within your community and would like to encourage community members to participate in our New Year's Resolutions Social Media Campaign you can do so by using our Know Your Neighbor (KYN) Talking Points for a Sermon which demonstrates how to share the value of interfaith engagement and ways to participate in this campaign.

Here are templates and graphics for posting on social media about the Know Your Neighbor Campaign:

Tweets:

Use these tweets by clicking the "Tweet This" button or copying and pasting the text into your favorite Twitter client. Be sure to use the #KnowYourNeighbor hashtag for wider distribution!
What are you doing to be a better neighbor in 2018? #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
In 2018, go beyond “nod-based relationships” and #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
Where have you fallen short in being a good neighbor in 2017? #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
What does being a neighbor mean to you in 2018? #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
What can you do in YOUR faith community in 2018 to #KnowYourNeighbor? www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
Who is your neighbor? Classmates, neighbors, co-workers, service providers, etc. #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
How will you get to know your neighbors in 2018? #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
What does your religious or ethical tradition say about knowing your neighbor? #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
My holy text tells me to be a good neighbor in Matthew 25:40. #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
My guidance for being a good neighbor is inspired by Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”. #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
The Qur’an’s verse 4:36 calls me to be a good neighbor to all people on earth. #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions

Longer posts for Facebook:

  • The #KnowYourNeighbor coalition has nearly 100 members working together toward a more peaceful nation. Get free interfaith resources from community organizing to dialogue to common action for the common good. Share your New Year's Resolution to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Most New Year’s resolutions are personal and individual (I resolve to lose weight, I’ll clean out that junk drawer, etc.). This year, however, as we look at where we’ve been, we have to take stock of disturbing developments in our country and the world that we need to respond to not just as individuals but as communities. #KnowYourNeighbor www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • This year we challenge you to share on your social media platforms what you’ll be doing to better get to know your neighbor, whether it’s working to strike up a conversation with someone on your street you haven’t had the chance to know or building relationships with someone representing a community different from your own. #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • There are many ways to defeat intolerance and pursue peace. Sometimes it's as simple as a conversation with someone different from you. In 2018, make a resolution to #KnowYourNeighbor. It's easier than forgetting to get back to the gym by about mid-February. 🙂 www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • The realities of racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and Islamophobia in America call for action. Bigoted actions are rooted in bigoted attitudes, and bigoted attitudes are rooted in ignorance and fear. We in ING know the antidote to that ignorance and fear: education about and personal contact with members of minority communities. Make your New Year's Resolution to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions

Social media graphics:

Videos to share:

Know Your Neighbor Tweets, Posts, and Talking Points Relating to President Trump's Recent Derogatory Remarks on Immigration:

Recent remarks by President Trump that degraded "s**t-hole countries" and called for more Norwegian immigrants instead of Africans and Latin Americans run counter to the United States' traditional motto of "E pluribus unum", which means "out of many, one." We are made stronger and more prosperous by our diversity and pluralism, whether in skin color, language, or religious belief.

ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi said, "I pray that President Trump has the chance to learn more about the contributions of immigrants and their value to our nation’s growth and prosperity. In response to his comments, we’ve created posts and tweets that educate him and the American public on the fact that America is a land of many immigrants who subscribe to the same values as all Americans in hard work, faith and strong community; and that without them, we would not be the great nation we are today."

You can read our full statement on President Trump's remarks here. Please see these tweets, posts, and talking points for the #KnowYourNeighbor campaign:

Contributions by immigrants:

  • The U.S. often wins the most gold medals in the Olympics. This would be impossible without the participation of immigrants. Check out this list of immigrants (http://immigrationimpact.com/2016/08/05/u-s-olympic-team-includes-immigrants-foreign-born-athletes-competing-gold/ ) who competed in the 2016 Olympics and get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • According to the American Medical Association, there are 280,000 international medical graduates in the U.S. — or 1 in 4 doctors. America's healthcare, especially in rural areas, relies on immigration. Get to #KnowYourNeighbor and celebrate our diversity: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Your immigrant neighbors are part of a community that contributed $105 billion in state and local taxes and nearly $224 billion in federal taxes in 2014. Get to #KnowYourNeighbor and live up to our motto of #EPluribusUnum: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • In 2014, immigrants to America held almost $927 billion in consumer spending power. It's time to get to #KnowYourNeighbor and hold up our American values of tolerance, pluralism, and common action for the common good. Join the campaign: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • We are a nation of immigrants & non-immigrants. Immigrants are more than 13% of the US population; with their US-born children, they’re 27%. The United States without immigrants wouldn’t be the great nation it is. Join the campaign and get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Immigration leads to more innovation, a more educated workforce, greater occupational specialization, better matching of skills with jobs, and higher overall economic productivity. Join the campaign and get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Do you think immigrants to the U.S. are mostly uneducated and unskilled? Think again. The largest share of immigrant workers (31%) are in management and professional occupations. Move past stereotypes and get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Is Africa sending uneducated immigrants? No. The most educated group in the U.S. today is Nigerian immigrants — 17% have master’s degrees (whites: 8%) and 4% have doctorates (whites: 1%). It's time to move beyond stereotypes and #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions

We’re a nation of immigrants and non-immigrants

  • The United States has often looked down on newcomers: Irish, Italians, and Germans were all accused of coming from filthy countries. Imagine what our country would look like if we still held these stereotypes. Take the time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" It's time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • We are a nation of immigrants & non-immigrants. Immigrants are more than 13% of the US population; with their US-born children, they’re 27%. The United States without immigrants wouldn’t be the great nation it is. Get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Stagnating economies, highly-stratified societies, & mass starvation drove 19th century Norwegian, Irish, & Italian immigrants to the U.S. because it offered promise. We believe it still does. Take the time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Religious and racial diversity is a source of strength, not a thing to fear. Join the campaign and get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Immigrants come from all corners of the world to the United States. We shouldn't be surprised to find they hold "American" values like hard work, love of family, and strong faith. Get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions

Examples of famous immigrants

  • Lightning-fast @BineyMaame is an immigrant from Ghana who will compete in the 2018 Olympics as the first black woman on the US speedskating team. It’s time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Are Haitian immigrants impoverished freeloaders? Ask the executive editor @NYTimes, the president @NintendoAmerica, two Lieutenant Governors of South Carolina, & Director of White House Office of Political Affairs! It's time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Dikembe @officialmutombo, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, competed in the NBA for 18 seasons. He's known as the best shot-blocker of all time, but may be even more famous for his humanitarian work. Get to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Panamanian immigrant @MarianoRivera is one of the most famous and respected pitchers Major League Baseball has ever seen. He played 19 seasons with the @Yankees and won five World Series titles. When you #KnowYourNeighbor, immigrants become Americans: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Love @MNightShyamalan movies? Thankfully, he immigrated from India to the U.S. to provide us with some of the best cinematography known to man. It's time to #KnowYourNeighbor and move beyond fear of the other: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • @IlhanMN is a state legislator in Minnesota, making her the first Somali-American Muslim elected to office in the United States. We’re grateful she had the opportunity to serve. When you #KnowYourNeighbor, our diversity becomes our strength: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • @KumailN, well known for the movie about his life @TheBigSickMovie and @SiliconHBO, is an immigrant from Pakistan who has made the world, and America, a funnier place. When you #KnowYourNeighbor, immigrants become Americans: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Did you know that the @Jaguars, the top-ranked AFC South NFL team right now, is owned by an immigrant? Shahid Khan immigrated to the U.S. when he was 16 and built an empire. Immigration is our strength. It’s time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • The Khan Academy helped revolutionise online learning. Its creator @salkhanacademy is the child of Bengali immigrants. Innovation and immigration go hand in hand. It’s time to #KnowYourNeighbor: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions
  • Big fan of @Bose speakers? Thank Amar Bose, an Indian immigrant, who wanted to reproduce the experience of live music in the home. When you #KnowYourNeighbor, our diversity becomes our strength: www.ing.org/kyn-resolutions