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The Courier Journal: #FaithinLou Rally kicks off peace campaign amid talks to curb gun violence

The Courier Journal: #FaithinLou Rally kicks off peace campaign amid talks to curb gun violence

Article By: Tessa Weinberg, The Courier Journal

When Haleh Karimi listened to Gov. Matt Bevin outline his plan to have walking prayer groups curb the violence in Louisville on Thursday afternoon, she said she felt insulted.

As Bevin spoke, Karimi, executive director of the grassroots organization Interfaith Paths to Peace, said she only heard of one faith being spoken of, and wondered why leaders of other faiths weren’t represented.

While Karimi felt Bevin’s event wasn’t inclusive, she hopes the Friday launch of the “#FaithInLou” campaign will be a way to celebrate interfaith peace and understanding.

The last of 10 billboards that read “Have A Little Faith In Your City,” was unveiled at a community event. They were predominately placed in the West End, South End and downtown, Karimi said. She praised Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad for his urgent response to safety concerns from area Muslim residents amid hate crimes across the country.

Conrad said the placement of the billboard at 330 E. Breckenridge St. was appropriate because it was on the north end of the Smoketown neighborhood, “one of our violent crime reduction areas.”

“Our neighbor is not that person next door, but that person in another neighborhood. That person west of Ninth Street,” Conrad said. “We need to change those definitions and come together as a community.”

Mayor Greg Fischer said the #FaithInLou campaign is about preparing people to have interfaith conversations.

“They’re really important components of the city for what I call building our social muscle — our ability to respect each other, to work with each other,” he said.

Rev. Derek Penwell, senior minister of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church, said he hopes this campaign acts as a conversation starter and sends a signal that the city cares about helping everyone — which he feels Bevin’s plan did not…

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