Get busy building

Another look at Habitat’s project to unite members of all faiths against hate

A woman signs a drywall board which will be placed inside a Build for Unity home.

A woman signs a drywall board which will be placed inside a Build for Unity home.

Photo by anne stokes

Learn more about Build for Unity at

Are we gonna get busy hating or get busy loving?

Inspired by a line from The Shawshank Redemption, Imam Mohamed Abdul-Azeez asked this question of the standing-room-only audience at last week’s Build for Unity kickoff event.

People of all faiths and backgrounds were squeezed elbow-to-elbow in the Capitol Plaza Ballroom, some sporting crosses or headscarves, to hear about Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento’s interfaith home-building effort.

Habitat believes in this project because there are others who seek to segregate us.

You most likely recall Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims traveling to our country. He and others are exploiting fear in the wake of attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Singling out religions and nationalities—does this remind you of any “stains” from our nation’s past?

Make America Great Again. Azeez asked, what does Trump’s campaign slogan really mean? Make America white again? Make America racist again?

Hate tears us apart. What better sign of unity than to literally build something together? Build for Unity is a simple idea: The interfaith community builds a home for a Muslim family; the Muslim community builds a home for a family of another faith. The homes are located on lots next to each other in north Sacramento.

Like all Habitat for Humanity builds, the future homeowners will put in “sweat equity” and help construct the home themselves, with help from volunteers and donors that offset the $150,000 cost of each home.

During the kickoff event, supporters scrawled messages of support onto drywall boards that will be hung in the homes. Construction is set to begin this summer.

Last week’s meeting was about building an army of love equipped with a hashtag (#BuildforUnity) to show the world that we stand next to our Muslim brothers and sisters. The event’s organizers have issued a challenge to other communities across our nation to do the same.

It’s time to get busy loving.