"Can you believe that, at one point, women couldn't vote in America? That Japanese American citizens were put in detention camps because of the actions of the Imperial Japanese Navy? That Jackie Robinson was spat upon on the baseball diamond because of the color of his skin? That there were quotas on Jews at Ivy League Universities? That mosques were opposed across the country and a shocking number of people suggested a Muslim should be disqualified from the Supreme Court or the Presidency because of his religion?
Oh yeah, that last one is still happening..."
This is an excerpt from Ashoka US Fellow Eboo Patel's recent Washington Post Op-Ed. Eboo Patel is Instilling religious understanding and cooperation by building an interfaith movement of youth, focused on common service to others. Eboo founded the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a program that involves thousands of people working on social action projects addressing problems ranging from homelessness and hunger to education. IFYC also encourages young participants to identify values they share with one another and then articulate how their religious traditions speak to those shared value.
Last year, President Barack Obama appointed Eboo Patel in the White House for faith-based and neighborhood programmes, a revamped office aiming to make community groups an integral part of US economic recovery. The office also works with the National Security Council to promote interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.
Eboo is changing policy and changing minds.