Chautauqua of Stranger/Sister Film

What can the story of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom teach us in the wake of constant hate and violence?

Friday August 5, everyone at Odyssey Impact® was buzzing with excitement for the screening of Stranger/Sistertaking place Tuesday at the Chautauqua Institute. Tickets bought, postcards packed, and flights booked, when news of the horrific attack of author Salman Rushdie at Chautauqua reached us.

In a moment one man’s hate had brought everything to a halt. It seems impossible that something like this could happen at a place that represents such unity, spiritual growth, and positive change, and we extend our love and support to Salman Rushdie and our friends in the Chautauqua community who have been through so much. But, we know all too well the tragedies that happen to the best of people in the most seemingly impossible places. When they happen, we are reminded of our mission to fight over the voices of hate, anger, and extremism to ensure the stories of those who persevere don’t go untold.

Inspired by the Chautauqua Institute’s unwavering dedication to their community, we were honored to screen our film, Stranger/Sister, to over 250 people as part of “Profiles In Courage” week at Chautauqua Institute on August 9.

This inspiring film follows two ordinary women, one Muslim and one Jewish who dare to believe they can join hands to stop the wave of white supremacist hate surging across the US. It follows the work of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom chapters in Austin, Chicago and across the Nation, as they build a powerful network of hope in a time of chaos and hate.

Their journey throughout the film continues to be a relevant and poignant reminder of the importance of reaching across lines of hate and engaging in conversations with people from different backgrounds. In answer to the audience question, “How can we begin this dialogue in our communities?”, filmmaker Kirsten Kelly paid tribute to the power of film as a tool to begin dialogue.

Earlier in the day, Sheryl Olitzky and Atiya Aftab, the cofounders of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, presented a lecture on celebrating differences and standing up in solidarity against hate. After the attack on Rushdie a few days prior, the dialogue about building strong, diverse communities and standing up against hate and extremism was powerful as the community heals. The power of film can open a dialogue about the subjects that are hardest to talk about, and we will continue to be a source of healing and unity for those at Chautauqua and beyond.

Odyssey Impact® was able to bring this film to the Chautauqua community thanks to the generous support of the Argosy Foundation! Through our national social Impact Campaign for the film, and with their support, we will continue to provide screenings of Stranger/Sisteracross the country, sparking important dialogues across lines of hate and uniting communities. Learn more about hosting a screening in your community, as well as the Argosy Foundation grants sponsored screening opportunities below.

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