The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Endorses the Building Civic Bridges Act
In our ongoing pursuit to form a more perfect union, the United States of America is stronger united, amidst our diversity and differences. This unity must be built on trust through our cooperation and collaboration on issues most important to local communities. It is in this spirit that the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign endorses the Building Civic Bridges Act, a bipartisan effort to encourage and support bridge building at all levels of our nation.
In many ways, building civic bridges is already occurring across this nation in communities working together, across lines of difference to address the ways we have excluded and discriminated against our neighbors, and where building trust and collaboration are key goals of any community project. As a national multifaith coalition of religious denominations and faith-based organizations at the local and national level, Shoulder to Shoulder is dedicated to addressing, countering, and preventing anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States and we connect, equip, and mobilize faith communities to take action more effectively. Since our founding in 2010, we have proudly uplifted and amplified the bridge building work of our active network partners. Legislative efforts like the Building Civic Bridges Act helps encourage and endorse this essential work at the grass tops and grassroots levels of society. It also gives us the language and tools to hold one another, and our nation’s leadership, accountable to a higher standard of cross-cultural and cross-sectoral connection and collaboration.
The Building Civic Bridges Act was introduced with bipartisan support by Representative Derek Kilmer and Representative Andy Barr along with 9 Democratic and 9 Republican Representatives. It aims to establish a new Office of Civic Bridgebuilding within AmeriCorps. This office will focus on building relationships across lines of difference in local communities. The program would 1) Establish a grant program to support local civic bridgebuilding across the nation; 2) Train AmeriCorps members in bridgebuilding skills and techniques; 3) Support research on civic bridgebuilding and social cohesion; 4) Activate a public conversation about the importance of civic bridgebuilding by providing resources, network, and collaboration opportunities to the field.
The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign remains committed to bridgebuilding in our core vision and mission as we aim to build a nation where all people, regardless of their faith or cultural background, are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. The Building Civic Bridges Act will help us move closer toward that goal. For it is only when people across a diverse spectrum of religious, cultural, and political backgrounds come together to address issues of concern, that we are able to make broad change.
Interfaith America (formerly Interfaith Youth Core) toolkit for organizations: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1efrf6tRfsuScolgbHjZghRzZ2MBCy4QM/edit
Official text of the Building Civic Bridges Act: https://kilmer.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Bill%20Text%20-%20Building%20Civic%20Bridges%20Act.pdf
9 Democrats, 9 Republicans Introduce Legislation to Reduce Polarization and Support Community Bridgebuilding: https://kilmer.house.gov/news/press-releases/9-democrats-9-republicans-introduce-legislation-to-reduce-polarization-and-support-community-bridgebuilding