SiVIC Newsletter- June 2017

SiVIC Newsletter

The newsletter for June 2017 includes articles on the Unity Rally held on June 10, the upcoming SiVIC Forum on “I Am the Other: Countering Stereotypes, Religious Illiteracy, and Hate Speech,” and our Multifaith calendar of religious observances and listing of interfaith opportunities.

See the June issue here.

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Bay Area Joint Statement Against Hate

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area benefit from both individuals and institutions whose faith motivates them to provide food to the hungry, shelter to the needy, inexpensive or free health care, and other humanitarian services.

Our history includes episodes of injustice and harmful conduct based on ethnicity, race, and nationality, but also a strong history of opposing bigotry and embracing all people of good conscience. We also value our history of embracing individuals’ right to practice the faith tradition of their choice.

While some isolated individuals in our community may sometimes hold events designed to foster hatred and fear, those involved in legally expressing their political opinions must enjoy the protection of our nation’s laws. However, we similarly exercise our speech rights to reject and marginalize hate speech and attempts to divide our communities.

Islamic societies, organizations, places of worship, and communities enrich and benefit the spiritual, moral and cultural life of our community. We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the equal moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the same full moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Together with dozens of local religious and community groups

See Facebook for updates

An Interview with Girish Shah

The United Religions Initiative recently interviewed Girish Shah, founding member and Treasurer of SiVIC for a recent profile: “3 followers of Eastern Traditions engaged in interfaith work.”

Girish, a leader of the Jain Center of Northern California in Milpitas, explains how his tradition leads him into interfaith cooperation”

“The creed of Jainism is non-violence, not only in action, but in speech and thought,” Shah said. “Thought translates to speech, and speech translates to action. To stop the violent action, we need to start with our thoughts. ”

Girish Shah

Girish Shah

SiVIC is a Cooperating Circle of the United Religions Initiative, a global network of interfaith groups. Read the rest of the article, including Girish, Dr. Prem Kahlon (Sikh), and Dr. Ji Hyang Padma (Buddhist) on the URI website.

Next Parliament in Toronto!

The Parliament of the World’s Religions has announced that the next Parliament will take place November 1-7, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The Parliament is a unique opportunity to meet people engaged in interfaith work from around the world, as some 10,000 people gather to hear world-renowned speakers, learn in hundreds of workshops, and make and renew friendships.

SiVIC was born out of the process of becoming a Partner City of the Parliament, and delegations have traveled to Melbourne, Austrailia in 2009 and Salt Lake City in 2015 to share our story. We anticipate once again taking a group from SiVIC to take part. Mark the dates now, and watch for more news to come! Find out more at the Parliament website.

Santa Clara County Becomes Compassionate Community!

SiVIC Board Chair Rev. Andrew Kille, Treasurer Girish Shah, and Secretary Rev. Joy-Ellen Lipsky spoke at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 25 in favor of a resolution to make Santa Clara County a Compassionate Community and to sign the Charter for Compassion. The vote of the Board of Supervisors was unanimous in favor of the resolution. This was a significant step in our Compassionate Silicon Valley Project.

For video and documentation of the Compassionate Community Resolution by the County Board of Supervisors, click here. You can find the specific location by clicking item #15 in the Agenda (it’s at about 3:04:19 in the video proceedings).

As part of the resolution, SiVIC has been charged with creating a Stewardship Group with other supportive people to “partner with local public and private entities to create a shared vision that will enhance positive change, civic engagement, and establish the County of Santa Clara as a model ‘Compassionate Community.'”

Now we need to others to join us in getting the mayors of the 15 cities of Santa Clara County to sign the Charter for Compassion.

We have taken a big first step in this program and can move forward towards the goal of Compassionate Silicon Valley!

Bay Area Religious Leaders Denounce Massacre of Coptic Christians

Following the deadly attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt on Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Christian Holy Week, many religious leaders, groups and organizations have spoken out to express their outrage and affirm their fundamental religious commitment to peacemaking. In addition to the statement below, both ING and the Evergreen Islamic Center have spoken out.

At the threshold of this sacred and holy season, when our Christian and Jewish sisters and brothers observe and celebrate the hope of new life and liberation from oppression, we are reminded that terrorism takes no holiday.

Gruesome images of torturous atrocities committed by Islamist militants (so-called ISIS) against Coptic Christians in Egypt, praying on Palm Sunday in their sacred sanctuaries, justifiably haunt the consciences of those who live in lands where the freedom to practice religion is enshrined in and protected by the laws by which they are governed.

As San Francisco Bay Area religious leaders, we speak out with a unified voice to decry these acts of horror and denounce all expressions and acts of religious persecution. We pray for those who have perished and all who have suffered as the result of these crimes against humanity.

Continue Reading →

Los Gatos JCC receives bomb threat

It’s happened yet again. The Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos was evacuated due to a bomb threat. [See story here.]

Last week, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto was evacuated after receiving a similar threat. Across the county, more than 73 such centers have received similar threats. Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia have been desecrated. Mosques, including the Evergreen Islamic Center, have received threats and individual Muslims have been harassed. A man yelling “get out of my country” shot two Indian men in Kansas, killing one and wounding the other.

Incidents of harassment against immigrants and suspected immigrants are on the rise. I believe it is only a handful of people who are acting out, but their actions affect many of our friends and neighbors, not just Jews or Muslims, Sikhs or Hindus.

Some misguided people in our midst seem to believe that since the election the rules of civility have changed, and that it is now somehow acceptable to lash out against our brothers and sisters. They are sadly mistaken. This is not our way; this behavior is not acceptable in our nation.

An attack on anyone because of their religion or race is an attack on us all, and together we will rise to defend all the diverse religions and cultures that together make up our Silicon Valley community.

It’s time for the Justice Department to get serious about investigating these incidents, and arresting and prosecuting those responsible.

And as for the rest of us- visit your local JCC. They sponsor events and classes open to the whole community. Bring a friend. Join. Donate. Reach out.


Rev. D. Andrew Kille
Chair, SiVIC

Assistance for Flood Victims

News for those who are interested in assisting the victims of the recent flooding in our area:

This week, HomeFirst took over the operation of the overnight shelter from the Red Cross for San Jose residents displaced in the recent floods. We served a total of 196 individuals the first night, including many homeless people that were impacted.

We are working round the clock right now to help people stay safe, fed, and connected to resources and we need your help. Our urgent needs include:

  • Volunteers to provide and serve lunch/dinner, M-W & Weekends
  • Donations of bath towels and toiletry items
  • Donations of laundry detergent pods
  • Gifts of cash, stock, or other support

Volunteer groups can contact to join the HomeFirst service calendar. Donations of wish list items can be made directly at Seven Trees Community Center, 3590 Cas Drive, San Jose 24/7.


Thank you to all the partners who have already stepped up to help, including the City of San Jose, Hunger at Home, Tzu Chi Foundation, White Road Baptist Church, Bellarmine AMEN group, and HomeFirst Annex Volunteers.