Creating a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Is Political Activism Enough to Achieve Lasting Social Change?
A case for spending equal time in grassroots community work to create a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion
Since the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the small donor revolution has given voters hope for competing against corporate funded PACs. And since then, grassroots activists have been spending their time and donation money primarily in the political arena, coming to a crescendo during the Trump presidency. Candidates on local, state, and national levels, both in our own and faraway districts, sent out a relentless stream of requests for donations, requests often reinforced by local activist groups. “No one can afford to sit on the sidelines any longer” became the rallying cry.
The importance of the political struggle cannot be overstated. This is where we drive the stakes of structural change into the ground, and defend them. Changes that will help us build a society that treats all equally.
I’m a passionate political activist. But political activism has its downsides and its limits – unsavory compromises, the watering down of core values, settling on mediocre candidates, our candidates not delivering – and losing.
What if a majority of voters were in agreement with our values and we didn’t have to fight so hard politically? Read more…
SalaamUSA – We Bring People Together
Creating a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion – one relationship at a time.
Our programs work.
Do you want to get involved in helping your local community be one of diversity, equity, and inclusion? SalaamUSA can help. We are a non-religious, nonpartisan nonprofit that brings people together – across the human-erected barriers. We work with local volunteers to help them play an active role in changing the social fabric of their communities.
We operate under the premise that we can work to eliminate institutional/structural inequities from both the top down (political activism) and the bottom up (grassroots community activism). We focus on the latter. Institutions are made up of people. Change the people, change the institutions.
Our programs are designed to help predominantly white communities engage meaningfully with Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). For now we have two offerings:
Awareness: Who are my BIPOC neighbors?
An entry level program designed to introduce churches and community groups to some of the BIPOC organizations in or near their communities. It all begins here. Who would you like to introduce your group to? A Black church? A Sikh Gudhwara? A Mosque? An immigrant/refugee community? Click on the button to learn how you can help break the ice with a BIPOC group near your community.
Making Connections: Real Friends, Real Community
A groundbreaking program that brings an intentionally diverse group of people together for meaningful connection through our stories. Click on the button to learn how you can join a group, or help us facilitate one for your community.
Our groundbreaking community building activities are making a difference. We have facilitated hundreds of interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims at the grassroots level. Our Real Friends, Real Community pilot group brought 8 people together across vastly different racial, religious, and cultural differences to find true friendship. Please reach out to us so we can help you get your local community involved in productive work that promotes diversity, inclusion and social equity.
The work of community building has never been more important.
“I was so excited to hear for the first time a non-Muslim explain my religion correctly!!!”
Rasha T.Muslim woman
“Salaam is the bridge to mutual understanding and respect through education and interaction. Sometimes one does not know where to begin when seeking a broader kinship with those of different backgrounds, Salaam provides the unique experience to close the gap, to bring people together.”
Tama Becker-VaranoFounder and Director, Change Begins with ME
“Kudos to Steve for his dedication and commitment to bridging positive and meaningful relationships between Muslims and Non-Muslims! Salaam is a wonderful example of how to embrace our diversity and promote peace and justice in our world!”
Christy Bantugan-BohanFounder and Director, Pax Christi San Diego
“In a world full of division, ignorance, and hate, Salaam builds the bridge of peace with education and fellowship as we share our stories and work for the common good.”
Joseph DirbasRector, All Souls' Episcopal Church, San Diego