The Akron Area Interfaith Council recently assembled area teens to talk about diversity at its annual fall forum, held at the First Congregational Church of Akron.
The forum invited seven local teens to share their experience with diversity and faith, and the discussion was moderated by columnist Bob Dyer of the Akron Beacon Journal. Each student answered questions about their individual faith, such as how peer influence makes a difference in their faith, what are their daily practices, and even dating preferences.
Some of the faiths represented were Hindu, Unitarian Universalist and Lutheran NIHF. The panel of students were Camden Fisher, Khemi Salahuddiin, Carissa Temerson, Anjalli Angarwal, Omar Barazi, Sam Shkolnik and Kymberlee Smith. Attendents from the discussion were amazed to hear the experiences of the students.
“This event was a wonderful opportunity to listen to the wisdom of our youth,” said local songwriter Zach Freidhof, who heads the Akron Peace Project and helped organize the forum. “It brought me great hope to see a diverse gathering of faiths, untainted by the divisions of the past. I feel the youth are so often underutilized and undervalued in our community, so every opportunity to hear their voice and help them engage in the community is a great blessing.”
He added: “I am hopeful that this conversation was the beginning of an ongoing conversation between the generations about matters of faith and community. Many attendees mentioned to me that seeing that group of young people was an image of profound hope and a little slice of what the community of all of our faiths looks like.”
The event provided a interesting insight as to how teens experience differences in faith and race.
To learn more from the Akron Area Interfaith Council, visit www.akronareainterfaithcouncil.org.