On November 22nd, in the Municipal Chamber of Campinas, Brazil, the creation of the Culture of Peace Council was approved. In this event, our Global Counselor Salette Aquino was present, who is also a member of CC Campinas and actively works in her locality for interreligious and intercultural dialogue and the discussion of the culture of peace.
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MEETING
Activity: Human Rights and Religious Diversity
"Meeting: RELIGIONS, BELIEFS, AND RIGHTS SOCIETY "
(WHAT IS THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN SOCIETY?)
Day 08/11 (Wednesday) - 18:00
Location: 11 Plenary Commissions - Federal Chamber
0BS 1: Entry by ANNEX II - staircase to the left - Inform that will pro "National Meeting of Human Rights."
Note 2: Free registration forum: Here
Organization: Baha'i Community / CONIC - National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil / Motion Spirituality in Action / United Religions Initiative - URI / Reju - Ecumenical Network of Youth.
Presentation: Guided by the objectives of this National Meeting of Human Rights, which aims to strengthen consumer protection in reaction to a rights deconstruction scenario through reaffirmation of a civilizational agenda that puts in evidence the respect for human dignity as a value above any economic interest or power, bring up the specter of human rights and religious diversity in all its facets and challenges, it shows how extremely necessary. Thus, the meeting: Religion, beliefs, society and rights, will provide an open space for reflection, dialogue and proposals from, first a look of those who are victimized by the prospects fueled by a religious fundamentalism that seeks to impose what they consider sin as law for all. After the exposure of these victimized segments, there will be room for dialogue with religious and audience, ending the activity with presentations of propositions that come together to resolve this worrying picture. All dialogues will be inspired by reflection on what role religion should play in society, understanding that this should not be to foment discord, prejudice, violence, intolerance.
Proposed schedule: exhibitors:
These two words spontaneously sprang up in me as a title for this little talk. They are simple words that set the context for the power and opportunity we have as staff to grow together – and at the same time help grow URI.
First married, at first school where my husband was Head, I made a banner for the front hall of the school that said, “Growing Together” – a big piece of brown burlap, green and orange leaves cut from felt…connected by a twisting vine – all glued with white Kindergarten glue. My artwork was mediocre but the love and positive intentions that went into making it were sincere and immense. I intuited that these words Growing Together were valuable. The banner hung in the entry of the school for 8 years.
Now, after 20+ years with URI, and helping to build a global community – I know that the crux of what is really happening and what is valuable for all of us in the midst of all the work we do – is that we are, indeed, Growing Together. We grow together at the same time we grow a global community, and at the same time we grow the organizing strength and potential of URI. Growing Together is what we do – it’s valuable.
Like a tree – we grow from the inside out. We hardly know growth is happening. Every now and then – we might reflect, take deep breaths, and recognize how changed we are from how we used to be. We might ask ourselves, what is new about me? Who am I now that I wasn’t before?
URI grows like that too…it’s easy to count URI’s growth in number of CCs, in number of countries, etc.…but URI’s more subtle growth is not so easy to recognize. We need to inquire.
Is URI growing in ways we feel are valuable? What in URI needs attention to grow better? Day to day we are so busy, how can we even remember to ask ourselves – how am I growing? How is this URI adventure, this journey into the unknown, growing? What makes me grow well? What makes URI grow well?
Nature needs nutrients to grow, the nutrient I want to talk about for us as staff, for URI’s global community and organization to grow together - is the nutrient of LOVE. How do we tap the nutrient of Love – in our heart, mind body and soul? How do we use the energy of LOVE for ourselves and in our work?
I remember back in 1997 Thomas One Wolf, a native American from Taos Pueblo, with his long black braid and a big red bandana tied around his head, addressed the big Stanford gathering saying only these words, “I cannot love you more.” I was astounded - that was his speech. That was his presence that was his message.
Lao Tzu said, the longest distance in the world is the distance between the head and the heart. Another quote is, the longest journey we will ever take is the 18 inches from our head to our heart.
Emerson said, Love as a basis for State has never been tried. I say that Love as basis for an international organization has never been tried. So we are here to try it!
Over the years, in ups and downs at URI, and especially when people were angry and upset – a surprising commitment “to hold together” surfaced. A feeling of friendship, capacity to keep connected even when feeling torn apart kept us going. URI was founded with appreciation/friendship at its core - we are still building a culture of appreciation, inclusion and mutual respect. When the going gets tough, people find it in them to appreciate one another and hold together.
A big growing moment for me came some years ago when I was in an Opening Blessing circle with other staff members. I had been feeling bad – stuck. I had been holding a position that URI’s primary aim was to listen to and uphold the initiatives of CCs. I understood that other staff disagreed and felt URI’s priority was to train CCs, give them manuals, etc. In my mind the two positions were mutually exclusive. My ego got invested and I felt animosity and rigidity that my stance was correct and theirs was wrong. During that Blessing moment, a voice rushed into me and said, “Sally, don’t you know that loving is more important than being right?”
Actually I didn’t “grow” in that moment …but in time the truth that LOVE over “being right” was priority in my URI work came clear. I began to reflect, what did conscious love-in-action ask of me in this or that work dilemma?
As staff, we discern day to day what URI work asks of us. I think that the essential item on the list that makes me grow and URI grow is a kind of Love – it is experiencing the courage of our hearts. We need heart-courage to endure so many challenges and unknowns in our work. We need heart-courage to hold and work hard for a vision of a better future no matter what the daily news says that assails our efforts.
A native America elder said to me once, “lift up your heart-bone!” In our bodies – we can lift our heart bone literally…especially when feeling heavy and burdened...an intentional in-breath, lift to the chest...a lizard-like “push up” works to lift our heart-strength back into action.
As we grow, we meet up with more complexity…especially in URI. Structures, more languages and cultures, strategic directions and priorities are forever being added on. What simplicity can we turn to ground us and guide us day to day? I suggest heart courage grounded in friendships.
Way back in 1996, when URI was just a glimmer in the eye and an intention…the essence of URI as a heart was present.
I am URI
I am a heartbeat
I am a little thing now
That points to a Divine call to everyone.
I am not an idol.
Breathing as one,
I hold the center for all to enter.
I am silence
I am strength.
I am URI
I pump life-giving behaviors into the whole world.
I beat as an enduring daily heart for the whole world.
(Sally’s poem) To bring us into this year, some of you know my current favorite movie is Wonder Woman. Not the usual action-super hero movie, this story reveals that Wonder Woman’s strength comes from a place inside – a well of Love and Compassion. There is a scene, WWI, Battle of Verdun, enemies lines are dug in, each side packed into trenches for months shooting bullets and bombs at each other. Soldiers say they’re stuck, their positions entrenched. Wonder Woman realizes that people of Verdun are starving and freezing - - she’s resolved to do something, she leaps out of the trenches and rushes into enemy fire. Soldiers behind her say, “she’s taking the fire - let’s go in after her.” We see her endure the fire, she wobbles and grimaces and falls a few times as she moves into the fire. Slowly, painfully she moves forward, her super-hero tricks are there but there is also strength from a deeper source. The film story suggests that her motivation LOVE - was the super power that mattered most. Love endures against the toughest odds.
I relate. I think all of us in URI are, in our own way, facing fierce fire. We are here to change entrenched patterns of ignorance, hatred, fears, patterns of violence and injustice in our midst. It’s not meant to be an easy fight. URI is meant to endure in a daily way with thousands of people stepping up to “take the fire.” The stakes are high. We are not called to play little - but play big and at our best – move into the fire.
We can’t go it alone, but we can together! We can’t do it by staying stuck in our ways, but we can grow ourselves, grow together, and - as we do - grow and nurture URI’s global community into its maturity.
We are not alone. Thousands of others all over the world are like us. We stand on shoulders of great peacemakers before us. I want to offer a quotation from one of my favorites, E. Roosevelt. A founder of the UN and one of the writers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
You are going to live in a dangerous world for quite some time I guess. But it’s going to be an interesting and adventurous one. I wish you the courage to face it. I wish you the courage to face yourselves, and when you know what you really want to fight for, not in war, but in order to gain a peace, then I wish imagination and understanding. God bless you. May you win.
May we win! May our love and respect for one another always overcome the hurts and growing pains.
The beginning MIR was born on June 5, 1992 in the vigil called by the Dalai Lama and Dom Helder Camara during ECO 92.
This vigil was organized by the Institute of Studies of Religion - ISER, with the participation of various religions, traditions, movements and other segments of civil society.
In 2002 the MIR also became a Cooperation Center (CC) of the URI with the support of Viva Rio, having as main articulator and dynamizer of all the initiatives André Porto. The MIR as a nursery After 25 years of operation, we understand that the main role of the MIR was to be the nursery of many movements and traditions not known, mostly minority traditions and victims of religious intolerance and prejudice. As a result, new movements have emerged, others have emerged from invisibility by participating today in many organizations, movements, commissions with their own and recognized identity.
Work Bases We work under the motto: Sharing the Sacred and Serving the World, as a dimension of spiritual citizenship.
We are signatories to the Charter of the URI and we have fulfilled its resolution to create a culture of peace, solidarity, respect and dignity for human beings as well as for those who inhabit Mother Earth.
As a practice, we adopted the dialogue that allows us to establish bridges for the Interreligious Service.
Structure and Organization of the MIR Composed of entities, movements, religious traditions and people aligned with the purposes of building a more just, solidary and happy society, they meet once a month (2nd Tuesday of each month) in plenary to define the direction of the Movement.
For this purpose, an executive committee is set up to carry out the actions and activities to be carried out during the month. All are volunteers.
Annually there is a Grand Encounter denominated Holy Village that has the purpose to show experiences realized by institutions that develop interreligious practices. In general there are three days of harmonious INTER-RELIGIOUS coexistence where we learn to understand the principles of each religion / tradition / movement / ...
Work Axes The main work areas developed under the MIR are: 1. Healing - forms of treatment for healing in personal relationships and in situations of respect for beings that inhabit the earth. We support and sign campaigns and actions that guarantee rights of people and animals 2. Main Environment Since its inception, the MIR has been participating in councils which, in a participatory manner, with various segments of government and civil society, contribute to guaranteeing Life in forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, beaches, oceans and other areas. . This is a hard work in front of global enterprises where the focus is profit.
Examples are: The Advisory Council of the Tijuca National Park and the Carioca Mosaic, belonging to the Atlantic Forest Biome.
3. Human Rights We have several successful experiences in activities and actions aimed at guaranteeing individual, collective and diffuse rights. We participated in the Walk for Religious Freedom (CCIR), Religions for Rights (KOINONIA), CEDUS, Superintendence of Individual, Collective and Diffuse Rights (SUPEDIR), among others. 4 - Living Culture - Redemption of festivities, ceremonies, forgotten activities, most often due to the acculturation of native peoples, breaking identities and distancing them from true values in the Man / Divine / Nature relationship in the territories.
5. Interfaith events. The MIR agenda is very diverse and as much as possible we participate in various events linked to the traditions, religions that integrate the MIR.
In these events we try to show that it is possible to work together and integrated in order to build a society more just and free of prejudices and religious intolerance, A photo well taken by itself is already a message.
Supporters Since its inception the MIR is supported by ISER - Institute for Religion Studies and VIVARIO.
The ISER is composed of academics who study the religious phenomenon and the MIR contributes by mobilizing religious segments in actions directed to the base. The same is true of VIVA RIO, which is more linked to actions aimed at low-income communities seeking to increase the self-esteem of its residents. Future Project
Ensure that the Legacy of the MIR is treated with respect contributing with dialogic practices that feed the construction process of a better world with more respect and dignity for the people and beings that inhabit Mother Earth ...
The MIR is a URI Cooperation Center.
Graças Nascimento - MIR Coordinator
"SHARING THE SACRED AND SERVING THE WORLD!"
CC MIR R.J. - URI - Alice Gress