Standing Witness

Standing Witness commemorates the 150TH anniversary of the ending of the American Civil War, abolition of slavery and assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The weekend events begin with a symposium in the new Student Union Theater at San Jose State University. The program traces advances and struggles in civil rights and civil liberties of Californian pioneers of color from Emancipation to the turn of the 20th century, from San Francisco Bay to San Jose.

The Standing Witness Symposium will include Keynote presenter Professor Herbert Ruffin, Syracuse University Department of African American Studies, a San Jose State University alumnus and author of Uninvited Neighbors: African Americans in Silicon Valley 1769-1990 (University of Oklahoma Press). With Prof. Ruffin will be a presenter from the Muwekma tribe, Stan Yogi of the ACLU, an expert on the actions of activists in California during the Civil War, Fr. Jerry Drino, who will describe the work of Rev. Cassey, Bonnie Montgomery on anti-Chinese racism in California, Jean Libby presenting the story of John Brown’s family who settled in Saratoga, and discussion of prejudice against Latinos in the state from the end of the Civil War into the 20th Century.

The symposium is  sponsored by Canterbury-Bridge student organization, the Rev. Kathleen Crowe, Chaplain.


On the shootings in “Mother Emanuel” Church

June 18, 2015

Our hearts go out to the people of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and to the families and friends of the nine victims who were killed as they studied the Bible and prayed together. No religious community – no community—should ever have to bear the pain of having their sacred space invaded by hatred and violence. Our sacred places—be they church, temple, Gurdwara, synagogue, meditation hall or mosque—should be places of sanctuary and peace.

We grieve again for victims of the racism and prejudice that continue to distort our nation. SiVIC reaffirms its commitment to building a more just and compassionate society, and pledges to work together with the local African American community and religious communities to stand against violence and hatred and to celebrate the richness and strength that diversity brings to all of us in Silicon Valley.

Community Townhall Meeting

What’s Next?

How Can We Make a Difference After the Tragedy in Charleston?

Members of churches and other faith leaders in Palo Alto are invited to join us for the discussion. We are in a time of escalating race based violence and we need to have honest and open dialogue about it so we can move towards a solution.

Responding to Charlottesville

From its formation, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council has devoted itself to building interreligious understanding and harmony in order to seek a more just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.

We, as people seeking compassion and reconciliation, are grieved and stunned by the activities over this past weekend by those who value neither. We lament the loss of life and disruption of the community. We of diverse faiths stand together unified against Hate. We grieve the murder of Heather Heyer who was standing up for our values. We will not stand idly by, as all our faiths compel us to raise our voices clearly against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia of any kind.

We commit ourselves anew to the task of bringing all people together for the good of the whole community. Hate is not welcome here.

For statements from other Bay Area Interfaith Councils, see the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.