On Thursday, January 24th, 31 Padua students and faculty gathered in the Learning Commons for an Interfaith Panel. The panel included four representatives from ING, Islamic Networking Group. ING is a non-profit organization out of San Francisco that pursues peace and counters all forms of bigotry through education and interfaith engagement while working within the framework of the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom and pluralism. Speakers included Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi, a Buddhist nun from The Land of Medicine Buddha; Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first female ordained Rabbi of the Conservative Jewish movement; Lakshmi Chandrashekar Subramanian, owner of Eclipse Nirvana (an Electronic Bhakti Music organization); and Maha Elgenaidi, the founder and Executive Director of ING and expert on Religious studies, social justice, and Islam. The panel discussed women's rights and how to address common stereotypes within each of the four religions.
Junior Georganna Kacperski reflected on the experience, stating "the greatest take away from the four female panelists for me was how they were feminists and also strong in their faith, willing to talk to young women. I also liked their responses to how they respond to hate crimes and hate in general, being we should educate and raise awareness along with using love to combat hate."
Senior Stella White stated, "The experience was a reminder that we should strive to learn as much as we can about other cultures to come to realize that we are all more closely aligned in ideology than we may think."
Zehra Mahmud, a senior, reflected upon her experience: "As young women, we can continue spreading their message by reminding ourselves to be accepting, not just tolerating. Even if we disagree with someone, we must stand with them in order to ensure female solidarity. With solidarity and support, progress can continue to happen."
This experience reminded participants of the importance of this year's Student Council theme: "Fierce, Fresh, and Female." Students are encouraged to be profound in the message of love and mercy, to continue to stand in solidarity with all faiths, to engage with courage and faith within our own Catholic identity, and to continue to educate others on the importance of interfaith dialogue.