On this 16th anniversary of 9/11, we share words of hope and love from four inspiring local leaders:

“My hope is to see a time where people can get past fear and ignorance, can overcome these two negative feelings, and empower themselves with courage and knowledge. I think the world will be a much better place.” Dr. Bashar Shala, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Memphis Islamic Center

“Love is something that should be without any level of condition. Just because I can put my faith in the fact that you care about me as a human being, and you can put your faith in the fact that I care about you.” Terri Lee Freeman, President, National Civil Rights Museum

“Love for me is getting outside of myself and coming to an appreciation of the other. To realize that the natural tendency of human beings is to be afraid of the stranger or the other, but that if we will not let fear and ignorance rule us but will instead act in love, do loving things. It’s not just a feeling, it’s not just a thought; it’s an action. We put all that together then, to me, that’s love.” Dr. Steve Stone, Retired Founding Pastor, Heartsong Church

“My hope is that we continue to see differences in one another and be excited by those differences and see how those differences can awaken our hearts to help us grow in our own particular paths.” Rabbi Feivel Strauss, Senior Education Rabbi, Temple Israel

These words are accompanied by images including: Muslim prayer at the 10th annual Memphis Interfaith dinner which brings people of all faiths together to break bread during Ramadan; the interfaith prayer service commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Peoples Grocery lynching; the annual spring picnic of Memphis Islamic Center and Heartsong Church which, this year, was also a surprise retirement party for Pastor Stone; a pro-immigrant/refugee march to the National Civil Rights Museum; sharing cuisine and culture at the 2nd annual MusliMEMfest, a “celebration of community to enrich the human experience;” sharing laughter and love at a dance fitness class of women from over 17 countries; the annual Thanksgiving interfaith service which has brought people of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths together for almost 20 years; and Muslim prayer outside the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.