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Pardeep Kaleka: Interfaith service kicks off 2020 DNC with celebration of unity and hope

Democrats came together ahead of the 2020 Democratic National Convention for an interfaith service, where they celebrated our nation’s collective strength, diversity, and humanity, and prepared to unite around Joe Biden’s vision for a kinder and stronger country.

The August 16 service was be led by religious leaders and performers from Milwaukee and all across the nation, representing the unique backgrounds and communities that together will help Joe Biden restore the soul of America.

“The world will see what Joe Biden’s America will look like: a nation united, not divided, by our differences,” said Josh Dickson, National Faith Engagement Director at Biden for President. “As we set that future in our sights, it’s more important than ever that we come together in spirit and purpose around the critical task of making him the next president of the United States.”

“Interfaith Prayer of Hope, Gratitude, and Healing” for the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC), as prepared for delivery on Sunday, August 16 by Pardeep Kaleka, Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.

Good afternoon, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Salam, Shalom, and greetings. On behalf of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, we are honored to offer this Interfaith Prayer of Gratitude, Hope, and Healing.

First off, we want to thank all of the organizers and the volunteers who have worked so hard to make this convention possible. We are indeed gathered here today in very challenging times but we need to stay eternally optimistic because of our dedicated commitment to the good. While we may be blessed to see another day, we know that there are those who have lost lives and livelihoods due to this pandemic.

Therefore, today and going forward, we pray for all those who have suffered both illness and loss. We pray for those who continue to lose their lives and those who continue to suffer, not only from the sickness itself but form the trauma that this sickness has had on our psyches and in our spirits. We pray for those suffering from the pandemic within the pandemic; those who are especially vulnerable. Those who don’t have the social safety nor the resources to protect themselves from the rage of COVID-19. May we be ever committed to building a more just and compassionate world that honors the voice of those who historically have been rendered voiceless. During these dark times it becomes crucial for all of us to embody the light. This light gives us not only life, but this light also gives us HOPE.

Today, we are blessed to be surrounded by sacred faith communities and amazing faith leaders who stand united and understand that while the light of 1 faith may be strong, the light of our many faiths is inextinguishable. Therefore, we appreciate all faith traditions for the richness of their spiritualities, for their united quest of unity, for their common dedication to the pursuit of peace, reconciliation and healing.

We also ask for large scaled systematic and spiritual growth because building a just society doesn’t mean to confuse prayer for action but that our unified prayers should instead inspire action. Action to continuously reform policies and governance that have made it difficult for so many to realize the potential of this great democracy and commit to act not just for the betterment of some but for the better of all.

Therefore, we ask God to give us courage to face the current challenges of 2020. We know there are many blessings in this suffering and in these marches and protests, please give us the ability to grow our sacred consciousness and unlearn the evils of separation and division.

We long to be ONE with our interconnected spirit. We know that division is taking a physical, mental and spiritual toll on us all. We pray we can meet these challenges; however, we must also be honest with the fatigue. Therefore, we thank you for putting each and every one of us in this position to support one another. We ask you bless this convention and bless our Democratic process. We ask you to also bless our City. Bless our cause, Bless the world. We humbly accept your spiritual guidance even though sometimes it feels spiritually heavy.

Our Interfaith community is no stranger to the collective burden against hate and violence as we witnessed 8 years ago at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. The loss of 7 souls to the hands of an affiliated white supremacist in what became one of the deadliest hate crimes committed in a place of worship taught us one important lesson that we need to always remember. That healing is so much more powerful than hate, and it is time for us to heal.

Because life is to be cherished, we are grateful for every second, minute and hour that God gifts us. We are thankful for the justice work that is being done by faith communities and leaders here in Milwaukee, WI, and throughout the United States. Our city longs to be a beacon on the world’s stage and fulfill the promise that entails this responsibility.

As we move forward in the legacy of the ancestors whose divine spirit continues to guide us to serve towards a betterment for our World, we ask you for strength when we feel weak, we ask you for courage when we feel scared, and we ask you for unity when we feel divided. We are all your children and we are ever grateful for your love, your mercy, and your compassion.

Amen, Ameen, Shalom, Waheguru, Ashee

Interfaith Welcome: Full Livestream Service

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Lee Matz

About The Author

Pardeep Kaleka

As a former Milwaukee Police Officer and co-founder of Serve2Unite.org, Pardeep is author of "The Gifts of Our Wounds," and a Licensed Therapist specializing in utilizing a trauma-informed approach to treat survivors of violence. He is also the Editor and a featured Columnist for Milwaukee Independent.