The following is an excerpt from an article posted in the westsidestorynewspaper.com in Feb 2019:
“(EMPIRE NEWS NETWORK—ENN)—ALEXANDRIA, VA— In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), a nonprofit humanitarian and advocacy organization, has awarded a $25,000 “Silver Anniversary” grant to two Redlands-based agencies – Building Resilient Communities (BRC) and Redlands Area Interfaith Council (RAIC) – to help develop a new platform for emergency management.
The two organizations will work together on the Emergency Preparedness and Response Collaborative project. For the project, the organizations will partner with the Redlands Emergency Management and Human Relations Commission to give different faith groups (Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, Christians, among others) the opportunity to work together. The ultimate goal of the project is to provide toolkits and train 45 volunteers from the various RAIC member agencies to become cultural liaisons who will work with first responders and establish an emotional and spiritual care team.
“Building Resilient Communities (BRC) was established to help community and faith-based organizations prepare for that inevitable moment when they are called upon to build, repair and restore their community,” said Debra J. Williams, president of Building Resilient Communities. “This project is a wonderful opportunity for the entire faith community to come together to learn and collaborate for a common cause. The relationships built through this project will go far beyond preparing for a disaster. Building Resilient Communities is proud to be a part of such an important endeavor and we truly thank Islamic Relief USA for recognizing the value of our project.”
“This Islamic Relief USA grant will allow Building Resilient Communities, Redlands Area Interfaith Council, the City of Redlands Emergency Management and other groups to collaborate on providing disaster preparedness and response services that incorporate and respect cultural and religious norms,” said Dr. Shaheen Zakaria, M.D., vice president of the Redlands Area Interfaith Council (RAIC) and a commissioner of the Redlands Human Relations Commission. “An intricate tapestry of individual values, norms and culture tie every community together. To understand their culture is to understand them. This will be a great way forward towards understanding and building bridges among various community groups in Redlands”.
The “Silver Anniversary Community Bridge-Building” program is an initiative designed to bridge the differences that frequently divide communities – such as religion, race, or political opinion. The grant announcement generated 175 formal inquiries from organizations working in 36 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. That response demonstrates that people all across America are interested in finding common bonds and are committed to a common mission for the sake of their communities.
“The tremendous response from grassroots, community-based and national organizations shows that people who on the surface have little in common can come together to make the world a better place – a place where there’s more unity, more sensitivity, and an endless amount of potential and promise,” said Anne Wilson, director of programs for IRUSA.”
Read the full post on westsidestorynewspaper.com