Police officers, religious leaders and residents across the “World’s Borough” came together in Flushing at the Hindu Temple Society of North America on Thursday, March 2, for a celebration of diversity, unity and faith organized by the NYPD and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit.
“The purpose of this interfaith service is to reaffirm that we have all gathered here today as a united group,” said Uma Mysorekar, representing the Hindu Temple Society of North America. “And we as a community, and the police, will stand together for peace and hope.”
Members from various assemblies of faith took to the podium to deliver points of reflection and remarks to the packed auditorium.
“Let us always remember that peace and solidarity; diversity and unity, are the hallmark of this city, and this country, and we are very fortunate to live here,” said Imam Edin Djonovic, representing the Albanian-American Islamic Center of Queens. “Peace begins with us, and this is the only way we can fulfill the words of our prophet.”
Rabbi Diana Gerson of the New York Board of Rabbis began her remarks by asking that everyone in attendance take a moment to introduce his or herself to the person sitting next to them.
“When we introduce ourselves, we’re no longer strangers: we become friends,” Gerson said. “[We become] people that we know; people that we trust.”
“When I see everyone out here today, I see love,” said Reverend Paul Kim, St. Kevin Roman Catholic Church. “I see peace. And it doesn’t matter what clothes you wear; what color skin you have; what language you speak … In the best city, New York, let us be that light; let us be that beacon for all around the world.”
Representatives from the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ, Sikh Cultural Society, Mount Horeb Baptist Church, United Sikhs, Saint Michael’s Church and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation also spoke at the service.
“The borough of Queens has over 135,000 languages spoken here, making us the most diverse county in the city of New York,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North. “It is those diversities that should strengthen us and not divide us. When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free.”