Local faith leaders unite to take stand against racism

SAN DIEGO -- Dozens of San Diego's faith leaders came together Friday morning at a church in Bankers Hill to take a stand against racism in the wake of recent violence in Charlottesville.

The interfaith gathering was held in the courtyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral. Earlier this week, members of the San Diego Organizing Project, a group comprised of 31 churches across the county, planned the meeting to send a loud and clear message rejecting any and all forms of intolerance.

"We want people to know the faith community is monolithic in its message of love, in its intolerance of hate and we will not be silent and we will act and respond to any division based on class, gender, identity or orientation," Rev. Kathleen Owens of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego.

"As faith leaders, we came together to raise our voices and make it clear to everyone in our San Diego area that we are here to reject bigotry, to reject white supremacy, to reject any type of violence that might be conducted against any faith group or ethnic group in our nation," said Imam Taha Hassane with the Islamic Center of San Diego.

According to a recent study, California has 79 active hate groups. Leaders at the gathering said many of them have chapters in San Diego, but it was not known how many.