American history is peppered with tales of heroes and also stories of great trauma. To affirm the democratic values of justice and unity ("Out of many -- one"), we need to hear the narratives of those who have been exploited or persecuted. Invite a Japanese American, an African American, a First Nation representative, or an ex-con to speak to your faith community. Host a special event or invite the speaker to give the khutbah, sermon, homily, or derasha on your holy day of the week. You can host a Q & A after the talk. In discussions, talk about how your faith community has stood with the marginalized -- and even how it has participated in exploitation. Hosting the speaker for a meal welcomes them in a hospitable manner to further build a relationship. Another option is to screen a documentary movie that reveals America's shadow side.

Kristin Ritzau in Practicing Democracy with Your Faith Community by Kristin Ritzau, Mary Ann Brussat