Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12

FINNY MATHEW Nonprofits that Work Together

Unity in Our Community

Unity in Our Community is a group of people who care about our community in Lynchburg, Virginia. These are people from our faith-based and govern- ment organizations, social work areas, universities, and school systems, along with citizens who see what is going on and cannot just sit around and watch. They want to be part of the group that is going to make a difference. This is a collaborative effort to exchange ideas, putting a team together to address those issues. We all are part of the change that needs to happen, whatever that change may be. It could be issues that nobody wants to tackle, but we know that unless we address them, we will never come out of these situations and people will never see harmony within our community. We need to work together. Unity in Our Community started off from an invitation to lead a prayer for our nation, our city, our community leaders, and the people who effectively work in our community. I am a strong believer in prayer, but I am also a strong believer in action with prayer.We have been commissioned to go beyond praying and be active in doing our part. There are many who have the capability to do so much, and they shy away from being actively involved in making a difference, perhaps from fear of the unknown.

In Kerala, India, we all played together: Hindu, Christian, kids are kids. I came to Brooklyn, New York, at age 10, where my father established the first Indian church, and I experienced many new things, like cold weather and discrimination. And then the movie series Roots horrified me. This happened in America? The black community was oppressed for so many years and the attitudes toward that group of people still exist. Fighting for the oppressed and against injustice is something that was built into me at a young age. We preach on the pulpit that God created us as equals. If you don’t practice that in reality, I think you’re being untruthful in the presence of God. I felt church was becoming more of an organized religion that was not serving God as we said we should, and I shied away from wanting to be part of a church. We have taken the truth out of the church. We have been living in our own truth and flexing the truth to the way we want it. It’s amazing to be here in this country now, to be an example of truly showing the love of God through action. There is a movement happening within us through God transforming us, and opening up our hearts to say that we need to do more. We need to love our brothers and sisters, see beyond colors, and see beyond ourselves. Bringing the community

30 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine

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