Twelve Ways Youth Can Be Interfaith Leaders and Bring Attention to Religious Liberty Issues!

1.       Start an Interfaith Student Group in your high-school or neighborhood!

  • Ask a friend to get help you get a student group started in your school
  • Find a teacher to be your advisor
  • Do things like field trips to diverse faith temples, have interfaith or intercultural dialogues afterschool, invite interfaith leaders to speak to your group or sponsor an interfaith dinner for students. (more ideas below)
  • You can have meetings either at school, at a community center or even at a faith temple. Contact them to ask for free space!
  • Raise funds to cover travel expenses with a community bake sale, car wash, service auction or other activity.

2. Encourage friends of other faiths to visit your faith or non-faith services and share your knowledge with them. Then visit their faith or non-faith services and learn about their faith.

3. Invite faith or non-faith leaders representing beliefs different from your own to participate in your faith or non-faith services and deliver the sermon.

  • Propose the idea to the leader of your faith or non-faith (Minister, Imam, Rabbi, Pastor, Director of Humanist Center etc…)

4. Reach out to diverse religious communities to co-sponsor festivals and holiday observances, such as ADL’s Interfaith Seders, that highlight and celebrate our common humanity. You can also host an interfaith Iftar- you don’t have to be Muslim to host one. Invite the Muslim community to your Iftar.

5. Organize an interfaith overnight or retreat for your peers to increase understanding of each other’s beliefs and build lasting friendships!

6. Plan weekly or monthly interfaith youth trips to local faith based or non-faith based temples/centers.

7. Being Interfaith at home: Celebrate different faith holidays with family by making cultural dishes, sharing global gifts etc… Use such opportunities to encourage storytelling, talking about other faith traditions and share personal experiences across generations.
8. Listen to the State of Belief Radio– to keep up with what’s going on around the country with religious liberty! http://stateofbelief.com/

9.  Start a Blog! Here’s an example of a Unitarian Universalist Youth who started a blog about bullying called, 1000 Paper Cranes. Stop Bullying. Casha speaks from her faith perspective on the reasons to stop bullying and addresses policy/legislation and media around bullying today. Look into Tumblr, WordPress or Posterous as places to launch your blog.

10. Be the eyes and ears of religious liberty in your community! If you learn of a community issue you think that the larger media should know about write an op-ed or call your local media. The Interfaith Alliance is also a good resource in getting the media’s attention nationally on religious liberty issues.

11. If you want to take action on an issue that you feel encroaches upon religious liberty think about:

  • Starting an online petition and send it to your friends/family/teachers/Interfaith Alliance look into http://www.change.org/petition
  • Call your local representatives or state representatives to inform them about it and your opinion! Start with your mayor’s office!
  • Lobby representatives by going to visit your local office with a group of friends!  Google “How to Lobby” to learn more.

12. Another way to get attention on religious liberty issues or interfaith unity is to make a Public Service Announcement of sorts and post it on your blog, youtube.com and/or any other sites to that you think will be helpful to getting your message out. Youth Can Network has great examples of PSA’s and how to make them!

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