In recent months Maureen McCue has seen a lot of division so she took a chance at bringing people together.
“Until they all showed up at the rec center this morning I had no idea really who would come,” she says.
McCue organized Abraham’s Walk, Drawing its name and inspiration from the biblical Abraham who walked from his hometown to a new land, who was known for his hospitality and friendship, and who is a revered figure in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The walk aimed to celebrate diversity peace and tolerance in the Iowa City community.
”People here have different political bends, different religious views, have things that that are very oppositional to one another but we were able to put that aside in order to come together for the greater good and I think that's extremely powerful,” says David Weltman, Executive Director of Iowa Hillel.
Dozens of people walked the 3 mile route through the afternoon stopping at different cultural centers to learn along the way.
“I hope a few people at each stop and along the way learn something from each other and are able to think about or address some of their own biases or perceptions,” says McCue.
Starting from the Robert A. Lee Community Center the journey stopped at the Iowa Hillel, Iowa Memorial Union, the Latino Native American Cultural Center and St. Raphael Orthodox Church.
Host groups at each site greeted the travelers with traditional foods and cultural presentations to build understanding.
“You have people that come from all sorts of different walks of life people that I’ve never met people that had never met other people of other religions before who are now here coming together walking together learning speaking and learning from one another,” says Weltman.
That learning and understanding can only happen if you make the effort and reach out.
“I’ve made a few faux pas in organizing this about what I did and didn't understand about different people, but if you don't reach out you don't know,” says McCue.
Sponsors include: Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pax Christi, Veterans for Peace, Iowa Hillel, UI Latino Native American Cultural Center, St. Raphael Orthodox Church, UI Arab Students Association, UI Muslim Students Association
Endorsers and participants include: First Mennonite Church, PEACE Iowa, Iowa United Nations Association, UI Women's Resource and Action Center, UI Center for Human Rights, UI Global Health Studies, CIVIC.