More than 30 civic and faith leaders gathered for an interactive conversation on how they could work together to create a more engaged community in San Antonio.
The March 16 conversation, titled “Soul of a Citizen,” was convened by the San Antonio Peace Center and San Antonio District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg. Co-sponsors included Compassionate San Antonio, the University of Incarnate Word Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and the University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Civic Engagement.
Among the questions the group tackled were whether interfaith relations can be a civic practice, and, conversely, whether civic relations can be an interfaith practice.
The group also talked about the need for more inclusiveness.
Replay the video here:
The gathering was prompted by a common concern about a growing intolerance and incivility in national politics.
“What we’re lacking today is civility in the political spectrum - particularly at the national level,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. “I don’t know if the faith-based community can teach a lesson in how to behave - but it’s missing,” Wolff said.
Nirenberg said “civics is about bringing more people under the tent, involving more people…how to get where we’re going as a community, instead of in camps, that is a step toward the answer."
Monica Cruz of St. Mary’s University spoke about the need for inclusion. “How do we go about having conversations and dialogue about our shared interests in humanity?” she asked. “How do we address the needs of the most vulnerable and include them? And how do we also talk about what are the shared interests that we all have,
"Collectively, we all want a better San Antonio, a stronger San Antonio that brings people to the table.
“My hope is we would talk about the changes we want to make for the common good and look at who is at the table and most importantly, look at who is not at the table," said Cruz.