Welcoming the Stranger: Hospitality and Faith Responses to the Migration Crisis
Wednesday, March 29, 2023, McNally Ampitheatre, Lincoln Center
On March 29th, Fordham University kicked off Faith Fest programming with an interfaith panel on migration entitled "Welcoming the Stranger: Hospitality and Faith Responses to the Migration Crisis", held at the Lincoln Center Campus.
The event was moderated by Eileen Markey, a community engaged journalist and professor at Lehman College; she graduated from Fordham College Rose Hill in 1988 and attended one of CCEL's signature immersion programs, Urban Plunge, as a first-year student.
Panelists included both visitors to Fordham and University community members. Rabbi Barat Ellman teaches theology at Fordham and Shivani Parikh, who represented Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, is a 2nd year Fordham Law student and Stein Scholar. The Fordham community also welcomed Adama Bah, an immigration activist, and Miriam Ford, a nurse and educator at Mercy College.
The conversation centered on the status of the stranger–asylum seekers–refugees–the immigrant, which has been a core pillar in many faith communities. The discussion was filled with empathy and compassion as both speakers and audience members asking questions brought their lived experiences and personal faith perspective to the room, discussing the cultivation of safety, stability, and opportunity for displaced communities historically and today.
Students from Prof. Kueny's "Sacred Texts" community engaged class joined the audience in asking questions. Responding to students that asked how they could take their engagement of displaced communities a step further, a number of panelists provided recommendations for communities wishing to support refugees and immigrants who represent diverse faith traditions. Another question involved how some sacred texts can exclude some communities. Diversity was celebrated, acknowledging that while all faith traditions have extremists that may not welcome others, all faiths also have many bridge-builders that champion the need to be inclusive of all among us. Markey said the conversation was "edifying and enriching, to be reminded how integral "welcoming the stranger" and the quest for justice is in all of our faiths.