About

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Building a Different Kind of Bridge…

When a divide needs to be crossed, resourceful communities build bridges. Employing a similar bridge-building principle among faith groups almost three years ago, Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and Dr. Antipas Harris co-founded Hands United Building Bridges, known to many as HUBB.

Living in a region that is divided in many ways, Hampton Roads has civic divides between cities and counties, racial divides between neighborhoods, economic divides, education divides and faith divides.

The diversity that enriches the region too often consigns citizens to silos in one aspect of life or another. Just as cooperation and collaboration in a region is stifled when land masses are divided by water, so too divisions among people in a community can cause negative outcomes.

When a community has no bridges, it negatively affects everyone’s holistic prosperity, breeds misunderstanding and fosters fear and anxiety. Hampton Roads’ future depends on the bridges we build now.

People of faith and faith communities, when acting courageously for the good of neighbors and neighborhoods, are ideally suited to build bridges through honest and earnest dialogue.

Born out of the unrest around the country and violence in the regions’ localities, HUBB exists to build such bridges in Hampton Roads by creating a safe place for listening and learning from an eclectic group of faith leaders. Through the civility of honest dialogue, citizens are challenged to live with others who do not share the same views, while also celebrating the points of commonality. Today, HUBB is made up of more than 50 women and men representing various faiths and denominations from across the region.

From discussions on challenging topics like race, education, faith perspectives, poverty, criminal justice, and more, members learn how not to be disagreeable even when they do not agree. As community leaders, it is important to model living together with people who are different. After a few years of dialogue, there are several bridges that have been built among the variety of represented clergy. HUBB continues to engage more faith leaders and hopes to extend the richness of dialogue to the broader community, as well.

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Our Mission

To connect religious leaders in Hampton Roads for the common purpose of strengthening our diverse community, searching for a common ground through building bridges that connect humanity.

Our Story

Three years ago Dr. Antipas Harris and Rabbi Jeffrey M. Arnowitz started a project called Hands United Building Bridges, or HUBB for short. The organization was created as a way to respond to the racial unrest and distress across the country. The purpose of HUBB is to connect religious leaders in Hampton Roads for the common purpose of strengthening our diverse community, searching for a common ground through building bridges that connect humanity. The model is basically an interfaith discussion group that meets regularly to address race and race-related issues effecting our local communities and the nation. Our first meeting was twenty concerned and curious leaders around a table from three different faiths and a myriad of backgrounds. We now comprise more than 75 faith leaders, civic leaders, law-enforcement officers and others, representing a full spectrum of faiths and a beautiful tapestry communities.

From discussions on challenging topics like race, education, faith perspectives, poverty, criminal justice, housing, de facto segregation and more, members learn how not to be disagreeable even when they do not agree. As community leaders, it is important to model living together with people who are different. After a few years of dialogue, there are several bridges that have been built among the variety of represented clergy. HUBB continues to engage more faith leaders and hopes to extend the richness of dialogue to the broader community, as well.Over the last three years we have experienced lots of successes, as well some common obstacles that we have slowly but surely learned how to navigate. We have gleaned wisdom on how to start a group diverse not only according to religion and ethnicity but also on the scale of liberal to conservative streams within faiths. We have developed a methodology for how to convene the group, how to build trust among participants, how to choose topics and perhaps most importantly, how to transfer the relationships built into bridges between disparate faith communities. Here in South Hampton Roads we celebrated the week leading up to MLK Day with a series of educational and social programs presented by our participating clergy and their faith communities that brought out over 1500 people to learn together and encounter each other!

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Our Goals

Initiate interfaith conversations, learn about commonalities and differences, build bridges of support and hope, and advance a vision of common human flourishing for all God’s diverse children.

Our Team

Learn more about the dedicated group of clergy and organizational leaders that head up the Hands United Building Bridges team!

Get in Touch

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Phone Number

757-773-8197

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