History of Beyond Tolerance
In June of 2015 there was a tragic shooting in the Immanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. In response to this horrific event people from all over the city of Wichita, Ks came together to hold a prayer vigil. The crowd gathered represented a rather diverse racial makeup of the city. At one point, a leader at the event even commented on this fact, noting that it was good to have so many white sisters and brothers along with the predominantly African American crowd.
This comment sparked a realization among several of the leaders: for as diverse as the city of Wichita is, we are still a very segregated city and the different racial communities barely even know each other.
Community and Religious leaders are coming together, challenging each other to look beyond racial tolerance towards transformation.
It is our goal to find a way to transform our community by building relationships and respecting all people through truth and justice.
To that end leaders across our area are seeking to partner with various community groups, governmental agencies, religious congregations and individuals that truly reflect our communities of color and culture.
After the Charleston vigil, Bishop Wade Moore and Reverend Sam Muyskens organized a group of religious leaders to begin to find a way to bring our city together. At that planning meeting we noted often we simply just tolerate each others presence. We felt that we need move towards something more. We need deeper and more meaningful relationships across races. We need more that just acceptance of our differences but celebration of those differences. We need to genuinely understand We need to move our whole community beyond simply tolerating people of other races. It was out of this meeting that the name "Beyond Tolerance" was born.
To begin moving our city forward, the Beyond Tolerance movement worked on several projects to bring people together.
- A city wide rally was held on November 22, 2015 to bring the community together to sing and to share about what they were doing to move Beyond Tolerance.
- Throughout the year we encouraged the tying of black, brown and white ribbons around trees throughout the community to raise awareness for the Beyond Tolerance movement.
- Religious leaders and congregations have been paired up for the purpose of inviting the other pastor, rabbi or leader to come and speak in their congregation. The purpose is to use existing religious organizations as one way to build new relationships between communities of different races.
- A series of dinner dialogues were held. These dinners brought together people of various races and religions to share about themselves and to learn about others.
This is only a beginning. There are many people already doing the work of breaking down walls between races and helping people move our community past simply tolerating each other. The hope for the future is that the Beyond Tolerance Movement will continue to grow and bring people together here in Wichita and throughout the county to do the work of moving us all forward.