Why is a program like Garden State MOSAIC so important in today’s world?

 

Every blade of grass has roots. Every dandelion digs its roots deep into the primordial soup of wherever the birth lottery left it, there is no other choice. Garden State MOSAIC isn’t only important in today’s world: community is crucial constantly. Every single member of MOSAIC, no matter how often they are present or absent, involved or uninvolved, puts roots into this program.

I adore Garden State MOSAIC. It can be chaotic and unstructured even within the frame that was constructed for us. MOSAIC is important because it is a proving ground with a safety net: we are able to speak freely and safely amongst people we trust and respect. We can speak among peers and mentors about the issues that really matter to us, and foster a mature dialogue in the little eddies of anarchy amidst the order and organization.

The program gives us an essential gift that may be absolutely unintentional: the friendships. After four years, I have made friends I plan on clutching close to my heart for as long as they will let me. After four years in this wonderful program I have become close with people who are intelligent, articulate, and strong; to borrow a phrase, they are “fierce and formidable”. I have spent these four years with people I respect, and their company may be the greatest gift that MOSAIC offers.

This program gives us a place to build a network made up of relationships with people of genuine compassion and empathy. Grassroots movements are built upon these networks that the compassionate create amongst one another. Programs like MOSAIC assembles networks that are premonitory of progress and positive change. Networks that MOSAIC connects work against intolerance, we work against the arrogant assumption that any person or faith or group is inherently better than any other.

There are many reasons why community organizations are important: community organizations like MOSAIC enable us to protest, they ensure that we are prepared whenever we must react to ignorance and discrimination, they enhance our effectiveness in working against stereotypes, hate, and fear. But more than being reactive, Garden State MOSAIC is proactive. It distills a message of peace, tolerance, and learning, and uses it to show, in our own metaphoric backyard: the similarities between us abound while the differences are few.

If a monument ever were to be made for MOSAIC, upon it should be inscribed, “Give us your unfulfilled potential, your ideologues and your apathetic. Give us anyone, and we shall strive to improve them.” That is the goal of MOSAIC, of its members and its advisors. We volunteer in the hopes of improving our characters, and each other’s in the process.

 

© 2017 InterFaith Monmouth Center
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