Interfaith Trialogue Series

Interfaith Trialogue

Local religious leaders and experts joined together to address the topic “Race, Ethnicity, Religion, Culture: Searching for Compassion” at the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice’s 2015 Interfaith Trialogue Series in February.

The programs are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome.

For more information about the speakers, click their names.


Session 1, “A Changing City,” Feb. 1, 2-4 p.m., Peace Academy, 4620 S. Irvington – Shifting demographics bring diversity and richness to our community. Featured speakers are: Jan Figart, Associate Director, Community Service Council; Dr. Sandra Rana, Islamic Society of Tulsa; Rev. David Wiggs, Senior Minister, Boston Avenue United Methodist Church.


Session 2, “A Divided Tulsa,” Feb. 8, 2-4 p.m., Temple Israel, 2004 E 22 Pl.  – Changes can make people afraid and defensive of those they don’t know. Facilitated by Hannibal B. Johnson, Attorney, Author, Independent Consultant. Featured speakers include: Dr. Jocelyn Payne, Executive Director, John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation; David Blatt, Executive Director, Oklahoma Policy Institute; Twan Jones, Communitee advocate, NAACP-Tulsa.


Session 3, “Moving Forward with Compassion,” Feb. 15, 2-4 p.m., Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, 1301 S. Boston Ave. – Is there a way for these differences to be respected and for a community to come together? Featured speakers include: Imam John Ederer, Islamic Society of Tulsa; Dr. Kirt Hartlzler, Union Public Schools Superintendent; Dr. Andrea Walker,  Human Rights Commission Member.


For over 30 years, OCCJ has brought together Tulsans of various faiths for the annual Interfaith Trialogue. The series seeks to tackle tough issues in a way that helps us live together with our deepest differences.

“The views expressed are sometimes deeply unsettling, and it feels healthy to confront our differences and to expose ourselves to views that are powerfully divergent,” says Marc Boone Fitzerman, Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Emunah. “It’s a never-ending conversation. Over and over again, it’s honest conversations on some of the most difficult issues in society. It’s a fearless project. The topics we have engaged in the past quarter of a century reflect that – violence, immigration, the relationship between religion and state.”

 Over the years, a broad variety of themes have been addressed. Says Sheryl Siddiqui, director of Community Relations and American Outreach for the Islamic Society of Tulsa, “Religion is one of the things that could bring us together, but it also divides us. OCCJ helps address the ills of our community in our interpersonal relationships.”

The Rev. Dr. Bill Crowell, associate minister at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church and chair of the series for the 8th consecutive year, says of the planning committee, “We’re reaching out to the young population and young professionals, to involve them more.”

The OCCJ Trialogue Series is made possible in part by the Tulsa Library Trust’s Alfred E. Aaronson Lecture Series Endowment. The Tulsa Library Trust’s Alfred E. Aaronson Lecture Series Endowment was initiated in 1969 on the occasion of Alfred E. Aaronson’s retirement from the Tulsa City-County Library Commission, the Gilcrease Museum Board and the Tulsa Community Relations Commission. Funds collected in his honor were dedicated to bringing authorities to the community to stimulate thought and action in fields where voids exist and offer other points of view.

To register or for more information please email info@occjok.org.

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