Editor: We, signers of this letter, have been and always will be committed to bringing people together across religious, racial, economic, and political party affiliations to build a strong Loudoun County. Intense emotions showing seemingly intractable divides have recently brought about hurtful and demeaning talk, at times, characterizing other people in our community in uncivil and inappropriate ways. We are reaching out to you, Loudoun county, pledging our commitment to reaffirm bridges of trust and respect.
Let us begin by saying what we will not do:
- We will not disparage anyone’s emotional responses, whether they are positive or negative, joyful or fearful. Our ears remain open.
- Neither will we smooth over the tensions, without having the difficult conversations about the issues that matter to the whole of our population. Our minds remain open.
- And finally, we refuse to allow anger or fear to prevent us from relating to people who are different from us. Our hearts remain open.
Faith, community, and civic leaders gathered in early December to open our ears, minds, and hearts to one another. We listened to the fears, experiences, and hopes of our neighbors in community. Then we asked one another how we might move forward together. We asked for humility and faith, for patience and understanding, for compassion and respect.
Together, we pledge to uphold these very values in all our engagements in Loudoun County and beyond. Our conviction demands that we stand together as a community: people of the Atheist, Bahá’i, Buddist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist and all faith and belief systems; Native American and any Immigrant group, rich, poor, speakers of all languages, from every race, ability and people, Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Transgender, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green and Independent–Everyone! We do so firmly believing that we are stronger and wiser when we work together for the common good.
Together, we also pledge to pay close attention to the needs of the most vulnerable among us. We are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We see and affirm the inherent worth and dignity in all our neighbors. Together we will work to build a community that respects our equality, and we will work until this same pledge and purpose is affirmed by all our neighbors in Loudoun County.
Pledged and signed,
Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation, Ashburn
Congregation Sha’are Shalom, Leesburg
Crossroads United Methodist Church, Ashburn
Eva Maria Torres Herrera, Coordinator DREAMers’MOMS VA
Jared Melvin, President/CEO Loudoun Youth, Inc.
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington
Kurt Aschermann, founder Community Table of Loudoun
Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES Board of Trustees
Rev. Dan King, Minister, The Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, Leesburg
Rev. David A. Douthett, Pastor, Catoctin Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Waterford
Rev. Debbie Dodson Parsons, Pastor, Leesburg Presbyterian Church
Rev. Dr. David Milam, Pastor, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Purcellville
Rev. Jacquelyn Hollingsworth, Pastor Christ Chapel AME Church, Sterling
Rev. Jessica McClure Archer, Assoc. Pastor, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Purcellville
Rev. Mark Feather and Rev. Kate Bryant, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Leesburg
Rev. Molly W. Douthett, Furnace Mountain Presbyterian Church, Lucketts
Rev. Samantha J. Tuttle – Pastor of On Earth United Church of Christ
Rev. Sunday Cote, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living Leesburg
Rizwan Jaka, Chair, Board, All Dulles Area Muslim Society(ADAMS)
Robert J. Marro, Executive Director, Alliance for an Indivisible America 2020
Sher JB Singh, Executive Director, Guru Angad Institute of Sikh Studies, Sterling
Sikh Mission of Virginia, Warrenton
St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church ~ Iglesia Episcopal San Gabriel, Leesburg
St. James United Church of Christ, Lovettsville
The Congregation of Goose Creek Friends Meeting (Quaker,)
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Loudoun County
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling