After she finished college, Beth Katz felt a calling to facilitate interfaith conversations. So she started in the place she knew best - her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Now Project Interfaith is almost a decade old, and has garnered international recognition. This is Part 2 of our interview. You can listen to Part 1 here.
"Wait - you're Muslim? But you're not even brown!"
Emina was a student at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2010, Project Interfaith gave her and a group of other students each a video camera and a set of questions. The result was an eye-opener for both the students and the Project Interfaith staff.
Emina uploaded her first video, in which she reported that someone on her hall had just found out she was Muslim. "But you're not even brown!" the other student exclaimed. This exchange gave Emina the opportunity to reflect on her identity, and - with the help of the camera - share it with others.
Beth Katz describes this video as the seed for the RavelUnravel Project - an ongoing website where anyone can upload videos of ordinary people talking about their faith identitites. The website now has nearly 1000 entries.
In this second part of our interview, Beth Katz talks more about the origins of Project Interfaith, the RavelUnravel project, and her hopes for interfaith work in the world today.
Also on the show, Katy Scrogin reviews Blasphemy, a collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie.
From the book description:
"Sherman Alexie’s stature as a writer of stories, poems, and novels has soared over the course of his twenty-book, twenty-year career. His wide-ranging, acclaimed stories from the last two decades, from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven to his most recent PEN/Faulkner award–winning War Dances, have established him as a star in modern literature.
A bold and irreverent observer of life among Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, the daring, versatile, funny, and outrageous Alexie showcases all his talents in his newest collection, Blasphemy, where he unites fifteen beloved classics with fifteen new stories in one sweeping anthology for devoted fans and first-time readers.
Included here are some of his most esteemed tales, including "What You Pawn I Will Redeem," "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," "The Toughest Indian in the World," and "War Dances." Alexie’s new stories are fresh and quintessential—about donkey basketball leagues, lethal wind turbines, the reservation, marriage, and all species of contemporary American warriors.
An indispensable collection of new and classic stories, Blasphemy reminds us, on every thrilling page, why Sherman Alexie is one of our greatest contemporary writers and a true master of the short story."