Oct. 14, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A virtual walk celebrating religious freedom and the founding of Flushing will take place Sunday.
The event, called the Queens Interfaith Unity Walk, will see residents from different religious backgrounds come together and virtually visit houses of worship in Queens.
The walk, now in its 12th year, is being organized by the Flushing Interfaith Council, a group which promotes religious tolerance in the area. The group hosts the event to celebrate the diverse religious makeup of Flushing.
Each year participants visit local churches, mosques, and synagogues as a symbol of religious unity in the community. The event will be held online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, organizers said.
The Unity Walk will feature video tours of houses of worship in Flushing including the Hindu Temple Society of North America, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens and the Sikh Center of New York. The Flushing Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is also on the route along with the Al Khoei Center (Muslim) in Jamaica.
At each virtual stop, members of the respective faiths will highlight the religious beliefs and traditions of each congregation – as well as its historic importance to the community.
John Choe, President of the Flushing Interfaith Council, said the walk will also mark the creation of Flushing under the Flushing Charter.
The charter, which was signed on Oct. 10, 1645, established Flushing as a settlement of New Netherland and guaranteed its residents freedom of religion, Choe said.
“The spirit of solidarity and resilience embodied by our Unity Walk is especially important as we celebrate… Flushing’s town charter,” Choe said.
Choe said the charter, along with the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657, is the basis of many freedoms residents enjoy today. The Flushing Remonstrance was a petition signed in opposition to a ban on Quaker worship in Flushing and is considered a precursor to the provision of freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights.
Harpreet Singh Wahan, of the Sikh Center of New York, said the walk is important in the wake of rising hate crimes taking place in society.
“Our Unity Walk recognizes all humanity as one,” Wahan said.
“Let there be no strangers, through respect and mutual coexistence, we can ensure a better and safer world for all of us.”
Those wishing to take part in the walk are asked to register in advance by clicking here.