Kingman Unified Pastoral Association wants to place an emphasis on commonality
KINGMAN – In the past year, Kingman and the surrounding community have been painted as havens for racists and their brand of hatred and discontent. Several groups and activities have sprung up to fight this perception, such as Our Neighbor Equality Coalition and Kingman Area Diversity Endeavor.
Amongst the new groups, an old, trusted faction remains.
Kingman Unified Pastoral Association is preparing to host its biannual forum 5 p.m. Sunday at the Latter Day Saints Chapel, 610 Eastern St.
KUPA is comprised of Vance Miller, President of the District LDS; Rabbi Mindie Snyder of the Reformed Synagogue in Flagstaff; Father Leonard Walker of Divine Savior, Independent Catholic Church; Paul Pitts, Air Force Chaplain and Seventh Day Adventist; Rev. Don Hegeman from St John’s Methodist Church; Imam Umar Farooq Mahmood of Masjid-E-lbrahim Mosque; Father Philip Shaw of Trinity Episcopal; and Rev. Ray Christenson, retired Lutheran pastor.
Christenson said each of the members is going to talk for five or six minutes about six separate issues. This first segment of the meeting will be these discussion points on “how hatred blossoms around us and impacts us personally,” Christensen said.
“It is to emphasize our commonness instead of our differences,” Christensen said. “To overcome the fear.”
The six topics include antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, white nationalism and conservative Christian nationalism.
“There will be time for questions and answers after a couple of different breaks,” Christensen said. “And from that, we will revisit any issues in six months and talk about what was brought up in the Q-and-A.”
After this initial discussion, KUPA members will discuss how hatred can be stopped by individuals as well as groups and how to hold the space of “real hospitality.”
“We need to continue to remind our neighbors that we are not the wild west of hatred and othering that we have been portrayed as being,” KUPA wrote in a press release. “When we present our perspectives and experiences to that meeting, we should hold these things in mind regarding our own experiences and those of our neighbors.”
The event is free to the public, and there will be a potluck-style dinner to follow.