Jul 20 2012
Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement on behalf of the board of directors and staff of the organization following the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado:
We grieve for those who lost their lives in Aurora, Colorado, today, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured along with the families and friends of all affected. One of the enduring strengths of our nation is our ability, regardless of faith or belief, to come together at times like this to offer comfort to those in need. As I have said after past incidents, we as a nation need to be done forever with the thought that killing settles anything. I pray, this will be the last time I need to offer such thoughts.
Jul 19 2012
Washington, D.C. — Rep. Michele Bachmann recently led a group of Congressman in alleging that high-ranking American Muslim State Department official Huma Abedin, members of her family and several American Muslim organizations are connected with the Muslim Brotherhood and part of a Muslim terrorist conspiracy against the United States. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement condemning these claims:
As disheartened as I was to see the letter sent by Rep. Michele Bachmann and her colleagues insinuating that somehow the U.S. government is being infiltrated by Muslim terrorists, I have been pleased to see it resoundingly rejected by people from across the political and religious spectrum. Let's make no mistake, this was a cynical attempt to play to a certain segment of the population by demonizing another, and to me, that is the worst kind of patriotism.
Huma Abedin, by all accounts, has been a dedicated public servant whose commitment to the principles of this nation is beyond reproach. But let's also be clear that her story as an American Muslim is not unique. She is joined by countless others from her faith who work every day to keep us safe and make this a better country for everyone.
The same can be said of the important work being done by groups like the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim Advocates who have been longtime allies of Interfaith Alliance in our efforts to protect religious freedom, and are led by individuals I am proud to call my friends.
We face serious threats from people who want to do our nation harm. Rep. Bachmann should spend her time engaging with people like Ms. Abedin and the groups that represent so many American Muslims rather than trying to score cheap political points by demonizing the Muslim community.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates Welton Gaddy’s 15th anniversary as president by presenting him with 2012 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award
Jul 12 2012
Mitchell Gold also will be honored with the Interfaith Alliance President’s Award
Washington, D.C. – The chair of the Interfaith Alliance’s board of directors, Amber Khan, announced today that the board has unanimously voted to award the 2012 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award to Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy in honor of his 15th anniversary as the organization’s leader. 2012 also marks the 15th year of the Cronkite award, named after the organization’s late honorary chairman and renowned CBS news anchor. Mr. Cronkite was an active part of the organization and personally presented the award until his death in 2009. The award ceremony will take place on November 11, 2012, in New York.
Rev. Gaddy is unique among organizational leaders in Washington, D.C. In addition to his full time job leading Interfaith Alliance, he travels back to his home in Monroe, La., every weekend to serve as Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church. His experience as a pastor for more than 50 years has informed his understanding of faith in America and the positive role it can play in people’s lives. Rev. Gaddy has travelled across the country and around the world meeting with advocates of religious freedom, working for understanding among people of different faiths, and challenging extremism at home and abroad. Mr. Cronkite once said of Rev. Gaddy, “Personally, I appreciate Welton Gaddy’s courageous leadership of the Interfaith Alliance. He continues to … give people of faith a strong voice of reason in public discussions and media presentations on the issues of the day and the proper role of religion in the life of the nation.”
Khan added, “Welton is a man of deeply held faith and a passionate advocate for religious freedom for everyone. Over the last 15 years, he has established Interfaith Alliance as a strong voice for people of different faiths and beliefs who want to protect a principle at the very foundation of our democracy.”
Interfaith Alliance also announced that Mitchell Gold will receive the organization’s President’s Award. Gold, the chairman of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, has been a longtime advocate for religious freedom and a supporter of Interfaith Alliance. He is also a founder of Faith in America, an organization dedicated to combating religious-based bigotry aimed at the LGBT community.
“Mitchell’s commitment to equality for all has been an inspiration to everyone who shares his vision for a more accepting world,” said Khan.
This year’s dinner will be held on Sunday, November 11, in New York City. The chair of the event is Helio Fred Garcia, the president of the Logos Consulting Group, and the vice chair is Jacob Worenklein, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Both are members of the Interfaith Alliance Board.
“It has been an honor to work at Welton’s side and see his unique ability to bring together people of different faiths and beliefs for the common purpose of protecting religious freedom,” said Garcia.
“The work being done by Interfaith Alliance is as critical today as it was when Rev. Gaddy first started,” said Worenklein.
The Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award, established by Interfaith Alliance in 1998, recognizes individuals who courageously promote democratic values, defend religious freedom and reinvigorate informed civic participation. The award recognizes individuals whose actions have embodied the values of civility, tolerance, diversity and cooperation in the advancement of public dialogue and public policy on traditionally controversial and divisive issues.
Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, one of the founders of Interfaith Alliance and a 2010 Cronkite Award recipient, said, “Welton's gift to Interfaith Alliance is his commitment to interfaith harmony. His respect for every faith is rooted in his own deep faith. He has given of himself and his talents to bring about a world where peace and justice are the order of every day, in every heart. Welton Gaddy shares the values of truth and trust that were Walter Cronkite's signature.”
Jun 22 2012
Interfaith Alliance Foundation Elects Amber Khan as
the New Chair of Its Board of Directors
Khan is the first Muslim-American to hold the position
Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance Foundation announced today the election of Amber Khan as the new chair of its Board of Directors. Khan is the first Muslim to hold the post in the organization’s history. Chosen for her skill as a nonprofit leader, it does not go unrecognized that her unanimous election comes at a time when Muslim-Americans have seen their religious freedom and civil rights challenged by those seeking to marginalize them.
“Amber is a longtime friend and ally in our effort to protect faith and freedom for every American,” said the organization’s president, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy. “She brings important skills to the position, but I also am cognizant of the message our organization is sending by electing a Muslim-American to lead our board at this time. Her religious community is all too often marginalized or worse in communities across the country. Amber has been a strong advocate for interfaith work, a catalyst in her own community for civic engagement in government, a voice for justice in public media, and a committed activist working for a society that respects every individual’s religious freedom.”
Khan succeeds Rev. Galen Guengerich who has held the position of board chair since 2008. Khan has served on the board since 2004 and her engagement with Interfaith Alliance dates back to its earliest days and includes serving in the late 1990’s as the organization’s communications director.
“The vision and leaders of the Alliance sparked a vital movement to engage diverse people of faith in our nation to protect religious liberty and freedom and challenge the politics of division,” said Khan. “As we look ahead, my goal is to actively work with our diverse and capable board to grow, harnessing new resources to ensure that the Alliance will be positioned to lead the next generation of leaders and activists who will defend and uphold religious liberty and freedom for all.”
Stepping into a leadership role is a natural move for Khan, a 20-year veteran of social justice and interfaith advocacy work beginning during her college years in Memphis, Tenn. Khan knows the nonprofit world well and is a respected strategic communications advisor for nonprofits and foundations across the country. She is the former executive director of The Communications Network, a co-founder and corporate secretary of the civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, and a past field director for People for the American Way/Action Fund. Khan has served on boards including South Asian Americans Leading Together and Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.
“During my time as chair of Interfaith Alliance, we weathered a tough economic storm and emerged a leaner, more focused organization,” said Rev. Guengerich. “I’m deeply grateful to hand over leadership to Amber, a gifted advocate whose energy and vision make her an ideal leader for these challenging times. The importance of the work Interfaith Alliance is doing cannot be understated. The challenges to religious freedom in this country remain significant, and for nearly two decades, this organization has been at the forefront of the fight to protect faith and freedom for every American.”
Former chairs of Interfaith Alliance Foundation and its partner organization Interfaith Alliance, Inc. include Denise Davidoff, Rabbi Jack Moline, Alex Forger, The Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, Rev. Albert Pennybacker, The Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Rev. Philip Wogaman, Arun Gandhi, and its founding chair, Dr. Herbert Valentine.
Added Rabbi Moline, “Amber Khan has been my teacher and my ally in building common ground among faith communities. I am proud to call her my long-time friend and co-worker in challenging extremism from every quarter.”
Amber lives in the Maryland suburbs with her husband and children.