After bomb threats at Bowie State University and antisemitic flyers discovered at local homes, faith and community leaders in Bowie, Maryland, came together on Sunday to rally for peace.
Dozens gathered at Allen Pond Park on Sunday for the “Bowie United for Peace.” People held signs that read “Bowie for all” and “Hate has no home here.”
“We’re here today because some folks decided they wanted to try to mess around with Bowie,” said Stephen Weisman, Rabbi at Temple Solel and Chair of the Interfaith Coalition of Bowie. He led the event.
The message was “Bowie Stands Up.” The goal?
“Some of us are nervous; maybe some of us are even scared. To come together and know that we’re not standing by ourselves,” Weisman said.
Organizers say that multiple events prompted the gathering to promote peace and “denounce hate.”
In addition to the campus bomb threats, a few residential neighborhoods in Bowie were the targets of drive-by leafleting of antisemitic material, similar to those seen recently in Annapolis, Montgomery County and Northern Virginia.
State Sen. Ron Watson, who represents Bowie and surrounding areas, says that the event was about saying no to hate.
“We cannot have narrow-minded groups and individuals trying to divide us,” Watson said.
“This is a good opportunity to talk about peace and what we can do in our communities,” said Dr. Rhonda Jeter, Dean of the College of Education at Bowie State University. “I’m excited for all of the people pulling together in the community and the faith groups, the campus — I think that’s a really good sign.”