GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Students, teachers, and community leaders gathered at East Carolina University today to continue a discussion broadening the acceptance of different faiths.
Chris Stedman is a distinguished author and Interfaith Community activist and was the keynote speaker at the summit.
Stedman said, “Religion is one of those things that we’re not supposed to talk about with strangers right? So we usually only talk about it with those we’re closest too.”
This is the trend Saturday’s student led summit hopes to change.
The event places people of different faiths, races, and backgrounds shoulder-to-shoulder with the intent to open up their hearts and minds.
Stedman said the summit couldn’t come at a better time.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding between different faiths and philosophies and I think that a lot of the disagreements that we’re seeing has to do with people not understanding one another and not having a conversation on a real human level,” said Stedman.
Stedman says people are often scared to talk about religion.
“A lot of the conversations we have about hard things happen online or they happen from some sort of a distance,” said Stedman.
Steadman says facing the differences head on is essential.
Students who organized the event want their message to spread.
Maya Williams is the President of Interfaith Pirates Better Together.
Williams said, “Taking that in, in order to take that with them and take that with them to make sure it’s not just talked about in the room but to make sure you actually change from what’s happening and take that insight with you.”
Insight and dialogue Williams says is helping her and her family through obstacles and can help people attending the summit.
Williams said her goal for the event is simple.
“We want to make sure a person learns at least one thing new, even if it’s just one thing new about someone they interacted with,” said Williams.
She says that interaction could make all the difference.