On May 21st, a Ramadan Interfaith Iftar Dinner was celebrated at Pacifica Institute Silicon Valley Branch with members of the community and guests from different faiths and communities. Among the distinguished guests were the keynote speaker Jeff Rosen (Santa Clara County District Attorney), Kansen Chu (CA State Assemblymember), Johnny Khamis (SJ City Councilmember), Steve Herrera (Faculty Member at Archbishop Mitty).
Below are some talking points from DA Rosen’s speech:
” Living together is simple, yet complicated; easy, while at the same time difficult. Living together is more of an art than a science. It is more subjective, than objective. Living together is hard to describe, but we know it when we see it. We can feel it, even if it is hard to articulate.
Building relationships is a continuous and ongoing process. While this process never ends, it can be halted if we do not tend to it. Building relationships, like creating any structure, requires a strong foundation.
What is that strong foundation? I suggest that the strong foundation required to build relationships so that different kinds of people can live together and prosper together, is respect and empathy.
We are all created in the image of God. Because of this, each one of us has infinite value. Moreover, we are all descendants of Adam, the first human being. Therefore, no one can say I, or my people, are better or higher than you, or your people. We are all part of the human family tree, with the same roots.
Respect is necessary, but not sufficient, to provide a strong foundation to build relationships and live peacefully and prosperously together. We also need empathy. Empathy is when I put myself in your shoes, and you put yourself in mine. Empathy is when I consider and weigh your interests, your thoughts, your feelings, as if they were my own.
Respect and empathy create a very strong foundation for different kinds of people to live together in peace and prosperity. ”