I’ve been getting more involved in local community activism, and it’s made me extremely happy. On Monday, I attended a public hearing in Bridgeport to support speakers against a gas plant proposal to replace a recently shut down coal factory. And last week, I attended an NAACP meeting. The discussion was centered around the discovery of a hate letter written by a Bridgeport police officer.
Politics is fun. It makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger, something that matters.
The only thing that made me uncomfortable at these meetings was the beginning, when everyone was asked to bow their heads for a prayer led by a Christian minister. I complied, of course, out of respect, but I could not help think about the Asian, Middle Eastern, and other potentially non-Christian crowd among the attendees.
As an activist for change, inclusion is a huge part of what I advocate for, and I could not help but think about how exclusive it was for the whole audience of attendees to participate in a Christian prayer. It also made me wonder how many hopeful activists they might have be deterred because of this exclusive religious practice?
If I weren’t Christian, I would stop attending public meetings, especially if I were passionate about my religion, and felt that Christianity was being forced at me. Community leaders should either seek to leave religion out of meetings altogether, or offer attendees the opportunity to lead us in a prayer from their chosen religion. I mean, this is America right? Aren’t we allowed to practice any religion we want?