Happy New Year!
As the recently appointed Executive Director of WIN, I thought I should introduce myself. My name is Jordan Bishop. I live in Laramie with my wife Dakota and our Airedale terrier named Bosler. I graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.A. in Religious Studies and my post-baccalaureate in Secondary Social Studies Education. I taught social studies for two years internationally in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates to an extraordinarily diverse group of high schoolers. I've been lucky enough to engage in interfaith dialogue and work across the world and am excited to be part of such an incredible group of active, caring, and hard-working bridge-builders.
As the Executive Director, I follow in the footsteps of some great leaders—from Warren Murphy and Chesie Lee— to so many others before me. I am honored to carry on this work. As WIN, our story is rich and deep. We are building off the foundation of the Wyoming Association of Churches that has worked towards peace and justice in our state since the 1970’s.
While we’ve done so much good, there’s still so much more we can do.
I could not write a message to you without confronting recent acts of violence and hatred against people of faith worldwide.
The violent anti-Semitic attacks in New York and across the country in the past few weeks have been devastating. Five people were murdered near a kosher market in New Jersey. Five more people stabbed during Chanukah celebration. Jewish museums and synagogues vandalized. These are only a few of the numerous anti-Semitic crimes in America in the last month.
Meanwhile, as many as one-million Muslims have been sent to internment camps and prisons in northwest China. In India, Muslims have been killed and beaten in recent political flare-ups. With escalating tensions in the Middle East, anti-Muslim sentiment is poised to rise again across the United States.
We also must not forget the violence against Sikhs, Christians, and those of so many different faiths in our own backyard and across the world. This is not to mention the senseless hatred and violence perpetrated against all people and in all of its forms that we are surrounded by.
It is not enough that we say that we stand with our brothers and sisters of other faiths. It is not enough that we retweet or like a Facebook post that condemns these hateful acts. We cannot simply offer empty words of solidarity.
We must actively work against this rising tide of hatred and bigotry. We must live up to the ideals that our individual faith traditions or value systems teach us.
This is the work of the Wyoming Interfaith Network.
When we come together on the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Wyoming Hunger Initiative, and other initiatives, we are not only helping Wyoming become a more just place, but we become a shining example of what a religiously diverse democracy can be—people with vastly different backgrounds, beliefs, and traditions who work together because of our differences, not in spite of them.
In 2020, we’re going to create more opportunities for togetherness, learning, and action.
In addition to our projects, WIN needs your help. We need your donations, your time, and your voice. Click here to donate and help us. Check out our new website to find out more ways that you can get involved. Talk to your friends of other faiths -- get them connected with WIN. The more diverse our voices are, the stronger we are.
Fear Not. Be Bold. Build Bridges. Do Justice.
Wyoming Interfaith Network
Below I have listed a few ideas and resources for fighting against bigotry and intolerance:
Facing History And Ourselves offers resources about anti-Semitism and religious intolerance
The Pluralism Project studies and documents the growing religious diversity of the United States
Interfaith Youth Core provides great resources on how to respond to hateful incidents on campus