A lecturer once explained that communities and minorities rally when walls are put up around them, seeing barriers placed on different groups in society.
While recently working at 3FF, as a media and communications intern for three months, I was able to see first-hand how to tear down these walls, brick by brick, in tangible and practical ways – either through bringing speakers into schools, facilitating workshops or encouraging social activism.
While planning our intern event (a shared fundraising task) we were set a target to raise £100 through an event that embodied the 3FF message. We contemplated something ‘easy’ like a film screening but eventually chose an activity, although not as leisurely, but to plan a sponsored faith walk of different religious sites across London; Faith & FootPrints aimed to allow people to connect to the people and places around them.
We coordinated our route, reached out to different organisations, created refreshment bags and organised a social media campaign to execute our plan into something concrete. We began our walk, and despite overrunning and underestimating the distance we managed to see over seven different religious sites, with four opening their doors to welcome us inside.
While beginning our walk, the group talked about religion, friends, family, t.v and everything in between. We connected to our colleagues, attendees and friends who while walking became fellow interfaith and community cohesion advocates.
Seeing these different buildings of worship, and their history, such as the original fixtures in Bevis Marks Synagogue, or the luxurious feel of the carpet on our toes in the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid, I noticed that despite our different buildings of worship, and places of spiritual importance, the true importance of breaking down community barriers has to happen between people, and an organisation such as 3FF draws a route out of these walls, and onto a path of understanding by bridging dialogue and respect.
Working at 3FF has been a really unique experience, one I know that will never be recreated in another organisation, due to the pure positivity that radiates from within the office walls. By creating our own event, we really learnt how to put important, and often aspirational ideals into something that can be produced in realistic ways.
The foundations of community cohesion and social activism are laid by organisations by 3FF, and by having an individual experience here, while working within a wider interfaith organisation, I feel extremely well equipped to start to create my own frameworks in my daily and also professional life to continue to maintain these principles.