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

Well, in this program I met a Sarbmeet, a Fatima, an Ishika, a Lily, a Mustapha, an Aisling, a Janaki, an Eve, an Emily, a Robindeep, a Jasdeep, a Spiro, a Kiran, a Rebecca, an Isaiah, an Xavier, and a Jonah. I met Kaurs and Singhs. I learned that in the Sikh religion, only the girls are named Kaur and the boys are named Singh. That each Sikh carries around a little dagger, and not for violence, but as part of the five Ks that unite them with Guru, their spiritual guide. The main pillar in the Islam religion is brotherhood, not terrorism. Muslims pray five times a day and during those five times a day, they are reminded of their holiness, their connection with Allah, their God. The Greek Orthodox church is how the church was before the Great Schism in 1054. Their practices are ancient and timeless all at the same time, creating a unique bond with God and history for every Greek Orthodox member. The main goal in Unitarian Universalism is celebrating the worth and dignity of every person. You can join and still be a member of your original faith, allowing for new opportunities and horizons to spread your wings. The Hindu religion is filled with intricate deities like elephants and cows, each one honoring different parts of life. In the Jain religion, members are vegetarian because they don’t believe in hurting any living thing, human or animal- a sweet and kind religion that celebrates peace in life. In Catholicism, you love thy neighbor as thy own and community service brings one closer to God, and Judaism was one of the first religions to believe in one God.

Before MOSAIC, I was barely able to pronounce, let alone spell these names.  I also learned that Mustapha enjoys corny jokes, and is not just Muslim; that Lily loves Marvel comics, and is not just Jewish; that Sarbmeet is a physicist, and not just a Sikh; that Spiro enjoys photography, and is not just Greek Orthodox; that Ishika’s favorite color is pink, and she’s not just a Hindu. I learned that despite the box you put people in during the first few minutes of interaction, they are people with stories. They are humans with history. People are not just their religion, or their skin color, but they are the history that runs through their veins taught over thousands of years. They are their likes and dislikes, their views and opinions, their experiences and their travels. Our world today is no longer a melting pot. People’s individuality is not to be stripped and melted down, for every person comes together to form a beautiful, singular piece that is part of a bigger picture. So why is Garden State MOSAIC important in today’s world? Because today’s world IS a MOSAIC.

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