6/22 - Statement from PACT Board Officers
Dear Friends & Partners -
We, as PACT, sincerely apologize for our decision to rescind the award to honor Zahra Billoo for her leadership in the local community.
In our efforts to be responsive to one set of leaders, we inadvertently participated in efforts to silence a faith leader and close partner expressing moral critique of an ongoing human rights crisis in Palestine. In fact, conversations are much needed about the injustice that occurs every day in Palestine, and its connection to the issues we work on including racism, border walls, and police violence.
We humbly thank the many people who have been in honest dialogue with us over the past few weeks regarding the issues and our missteps. We have been in intense conversations with many faith leaders, including our own Faith in Action national leaders and Black clergy, members of the Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian communities who felt targeted and silenced, as well as others in our local community and beyond. Those conversations are ongoing.
We have also met with Zahra to seek reconciliation. She has agreed to accept a reinstatement of the award and will speak at our 2018 luncheon. Zahra and CAIR-SFBA are valued and important partners with PACT and leaders in our multicultural community.
Based on our discussions with Zahra and PICO California, PACT commits to:
1. Examine PACT’s internal systems and creating structural changes to address the problems in our process and to reflect more voices, including Muslim voices, at the staff and board level as well as in our faith-based membership. We will seek, working with CAIR, to add Muslim congregations to our membership and have their representatives on our board.
2. Facilitate the participation of a PACT delegation, including our Executive Director and key leaders, in PICO CA’s Learning Lab in Israel/Palestine.
3. Provide training for PACT staff and grassroots and faith leaders on Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Christian hegemony, and intersectionality to expand PACT’s understanding and messaging: our liberation is interconnected.
This is about more than an award and we understand that the reinstatement accompanied with these important commitments are steps forward on the path to reconciliation. We are a principled organization, with a member base which is continually working for justice for our broader community, a community where truly #WeALLBelong.
We are hopeful this painful situation will create deep learning and structural change within PACT and our broader community. We are grateful to many people from many different perspectives who have expressed that they are committed to working with us to make that happen.
We look forward to working with Zahra, CAIR-SFBA, and all of you as we move forward.
Lilia Garrido, Fr. Jon Pedigo, Greg Smith & Marci Gerston, Officers of the Board of Directors
PACT: People Acting in Community Together
Dear Friends & Partners
You may have heard about the regrettable situation with PACT and Zahra Billoo, CAIR SFBA. Zahra is a valued and important partner, and I sincerely apologize for the harm that I have caused Zahra, our members and grassroots and faith leaders, and our allies.
I’m sure you can appreciate that multi-faith, multi-racial organizing work is difficult. At the time, I was trying to be responsive to our membership base who expressed concerns about some of Zahra’s online comments. In my efforts to be responsive to one set of leaders, I brought harm to another set of leaders and partners.
While I made what I thought was the best decision at the time, I understand the impact of not standing by my decision to honor Zahra.
I accept full responsibility for this entire situation and ask for your patience and forgiveness.
In exchange, I am committed to doing the serious work of listening, reflecting, and engaging with all facets of our organization and community. Most importantly, I am personally seeking reconciliation with Zahra and the Muslim community.
I am hopeful this painful situation will create deep learning and change within PACT and our broader community. I am hearing from many people from many different perspectives that they are committed to working with us to make that happen. I hope you will be part of that, too.
PACT: People Acting in Community Together
PACT: People Acting in Community Together, is a multi-faith, grassroots organization that provides leadership training and experience to community members of many different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Through PACT, people work together to solve the most pervasive social problems of our day.
PACT is Hiring!
Become a rapid responder to protect our community! We are training hundreds of volunteers to be rapid responders to calls from community members concerned about immediate ICE actions. The hotline is now available in San Jose. We need your help to engage and train many more community volunteers to expand across Santa Clara County!
For more information, contact: email@example.com
Join our Solidarity Network to pledge your support for our brothers and sisters who are targeted – especially immigrants and Muslims - and to provide leadership to stop the hate and fear-mongering that hurts us all. Learn ways that you can act in solidarity and to sign on to be part of PACT's Solidarity Network.
Personas Actuando Juntas en Comunidad es una organización multi-fe que da capacitación en liderazgo y experiencia a los miembros de la comunidad de diferentes orígenes étnicos, religiosos y socio-económico. A través de PACT, las personas trabajan juntas para resolver los problemas sociales más profundos de nuestros tiempos.
PACT is Hiring!
¡Conviértete en un respondedor rápido para proteger a nuestra comunidad! Estamos entrenando a cientos de voluntarios para responder rápidamente a las llamadas de los miembros de la comunidad preocupados por las acciones inmediatas de ICE. La línea directa ya está disponible en San José. ¡Necesitamos su ayuda para involucrar y capacitar a muchos más voluntarios de la comunidad para expandir la red a través del Condado de Santa Clara!
Para más información, contactar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Únase a nuestra Red de Solidaridad para comprometer su apoyo a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que están siendo atacados – especialmente los inmigrantes y los musulmanes - y para proporcionar el liderazgo a fin de frenar el odio y la siembra del odio que nos daña a todos. Añade su nombre a la Red de Solidaridad y averiguar como pueda dar su apoyo.