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The Know Your Neighbor New Year’s Resolutions Campaign ran from January 8th-15th, 2018
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
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