Last Tuesday the California Center for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) held their 22nd annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Co-hosted by Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Reverend Sunshine Daye of the Revealing Center, the event brought together groups of various religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds to discuss how to use peaceful means to solve violent conflicts within their communities.
Giving the keynote speech was Azim Khamisa, CEO and Chairman of The Toriq Khamisa Foundation, which uses community service programs, education programs, and mentorship programs in order to stop youth violence.
Back in 1995, Khamisa faced a terrible tragedy when his only son Tariq was shot and killed by a gang member. The gang member that killed his son, then 14-year old Tony Hicks, was the youngest person in California state history to be charged for murder as an adult and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Instead of wallowing in grief and anger or cheering for the sentence that was given to his son’s murderer, Khamisa did the unthinkable and forgave Hicks for his son’s death. He is even advocating for Hicks to be released early and have him work at the foundation.
The CCEJ is a human relations organization that is dedicated to ending racism, bigotry, and bias within the United States.
“Forgiveness is the key to peace,” said Sunshine Daye, spiritual director of The Healing Center in Long Beach. “The more we forgive, the more we really open our hearts up to accept one another in our divine humanity”.
The video above highlights Daye’s reflections and others at the event. For more information about CCEJ, go HERE.