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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Interfaith Club Participates in the 2023 Unity Walk

On Sept. 10, the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington held the 2023 Interfaith Unity Walk, a chance for residents of varying faiths throughout the Washington area to walk in unison and visit different houses of worship. The Interfaith Club, led by Senior Ishnoor Bakshi, facilitated Sidwell Friends’ participation in the Unity Walk. 

The Unity Walk begins at Washington Hebrew Congregation, just a short walk from Sidwell’s Wisconsin campus. Participants walk up to the Indian Consulate, sharing traditions and different aspects of culture along the way. 

Participants can tour the religious site at each stop and learn about its history. Some houses of worship feature conversational forums with clergy and performances from the choir. 

Bakshi mentioned in an all-school email that the Unity Walk visits the places of worship of Baha’i, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Latter-Day Saint, Muslim, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh, and Zoroastrian faiths. The Bethesda Friends Meeting website indicates Quaker participation in the Unity Walk, although a Meeting Room was not visited.  

Throughout the program, participants engage in activities to help facilitate interfaith discussions. The email states that there are “moderated mini-dialogues, hands-on family activities, comedy, music, and a sharing of tasty cultural treats.” 

Specific religious sites visited include Washington Hebrew Congregation, Annunciation Catholic Church, St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church, Bryce Park, Community of Christ Church, St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, the Islamic Center of Washington DC, and the Indian Consulate. 

At Bryce Park, the conversation shifts towards environmental impacts to protect the DMV from pollution. According to the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, participants “visit the Interfaith Council’s grassroots program, Interfaith Power and Light, to test for gas leaks with a methane detector and to learn more about how we can all begin turning away from burning fossil fuels and work together for a clean energy future in the DMV.” 

Bakshi said over 700 people participated in the Unity Walk in 2022. According to their website, the Walk’s mission is to “advance understanding and cooperation across diverse faith traditions and cultures in our nation’s capital for the betterment of all.” The Unity Walk is one of the Interfaith Council’s leading initiatives. 

Bakshi’s email describes the Unity Walk as a “public demonstration of love and support.” To unite the community in a mutual show of respect and understanding, the Unity Walk involves walking and provides a space for Washington residents of different faiths to connect and share their rituals. 

The Unity Walk also draws support from several social justice organizations throughout the Metropolitan area. The Interfaith Council stated that the Unity Walk is co-sponsored by So Others Might Eat, demonstrating that interfaith unity is a crucial social justice initiative. Other notable non-religious sponsors include the Lazarus Leadership Fellows Program at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School in Maryland. 

Since its founding, members of the Fellows Program “have completed more than 74,000 hours of community service,” indicating its commitment to bettering the lives of those living throughout the Washington area, according to the Interfaith Council.

The Unity Walk is also part of a greater initiative known as the Weekend of Unity. On their website, the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington describes the Weekend of Unity as an opportunity for “faith leaders, organizational leaders, and individuals to pledge to move.” Moreover, the Weekend of Unity examines the intersection of xenophobia, racism and other forms of hate with the interfaith movement. 

The Weekend of Unity has a national following, with sponsors from Kansas, Tennessee, the International Finance Corporation and the Community Organization for People Empowerment. 

According to the Interfaith Council’s website, all religious organizations involved hope to continue with the Unity Walk to build a “community strengthened by its diversity, where people of all faiths and cultures are welcomed and together build a better society for all.” 

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