Interfaith Peace Builders/Israel

This is an picture of a Palestinian Street that represents some 750,000 exiled from their towns, farms and villages. They were Jewish, Muslim and Christians. This is our delegation walking the streets of the Baleta refuge camp. We were not alone as the sounds of those who walk before us were with us beckoning us to go and tell the stories of a people who still need justice while living under Israeli military occupation . As I walk the streets I could hear the voices of laughing children, and Mothers and fathers calling out to their children to come home. The next part is take from my sister Simi Toledano According to modern Zionist mythology it is said that Palestine was a "land without people for a people without a land." The truth is that around 750,000 Palestinians - Muslims, Christians, and Jews, close to 2/3 of the existing Palestinian and cities during the war of 1948. I have still not sent out the bill for participating in this delegation and I need everyone’s help to do that please donate 100- $250

My Bio

Early Years:

TJ Williams was born in Columbus, Ohio, raised in Youngstown Ohio and was adopted by Idella and Leonard Thomas who provided a supportive and nurturing family environment. TJs family grew up in an all-black area on the eastern part of Youngstown, Ohio and was active in the Church of God and Christ.

Influences and Beliefs of Social Justice:
Reverend Idella Thomas was ordained as an Evangelist in Columbus Ohio at Christ Cathedral in the early 1970’s. Under the guidance of Reverend James Harding, she worked throughout central and North-East Ohio as an Evangelist. His mother was a Pentecostal evangelist who encouraged TJ to retain his independent thinking skills outside of any self-hating rhetoric preached from any pulpit so he can provide a positive relationship and connection with the parishioners.

In 2017, TJ earned his Masters of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary in the field of Liberation Theology and Global Justice. He has also participated in number of educational seminars and has coordinated efforts to organize to advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention with the Red Cross and Communities of Faith. He became involved with working at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City in the Interfaith CPE Chaplaincy Health Care.

Active Participation in Community or Global Organizations
From 2000-2001, he coordinated the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS in Youngstown, Ohio, which is a Balm in Gilead event. He has performed at the World AIDS Conference in Atlanta Georgia and the Staying Alive Conference sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in Chicago. His personal story has been featured in The Faces of AIDS concerning his brother who died of complications of AIDS.

From 2003 to 2007, he has also served as Chicago Coordinator for clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq under the leadership and support from the Reverend Osagyefo Sekou who is a pastor from St. Louis, Missouri and believes in social justice for African Americans.

His first national speaking opportunity was in 2008 where he was a guest speaker at Reverend Al Sharpton’s Reclaim the Dream March. He also worked to organize the National Equality Prayer Service that was held at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Washington DC.

In 2014, TJ became a part of the Religion and Foreign Policy Working group at the US State Department sponsored by President Barack Obama and Sectary of State John Kerry. This was a sub-working group which emphasized the role and impact that faith leaders and government officials can be involved, individually and collaboratively, by providing conflict resolution techniques in preventing violence and discrimination from sexual orientation and gender identity in our Global Community.

In September 2016, TJ participated in the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign and became a Special Immersion intern. The purpose of this event was to provide implementation of the Marrakesh Declaration among policy stake holders, NGO, and faith leaders with a panel discussion on how international faith
Leaders, who identify as Christian and Muslim, can walk with our Muslim brothers and sisters as they seek to implement the declaration in their communities.

In November 2016, he was on the Standing Up for One Another press event in Frisco, Texas that focused on showing multi-faith solidarity in the face of bigotry and xenophobia, held at the Islamic Center of Frisco under the guidance of executive director Catherine Osburn in representing support to uniting local leaders to make a stand against Islamophobia.
Because he was asked to leave the Youngstown Baptist Church after taking part in a television interview concerning homophobia within the church, this event has given him a calling to take up the teaching of Jesus Christ who would promote Christianity and tolerance among those who have experience homophobia, sexism, racism, and ageism. This has been a part of the culture of the churches far too long in its history of marginalization and discrimination among individuals who do not fit into their standing within their religion.

Published Articles:

In March 2005, he authored the Litany for Peace and Justice that was introduced at Riverside Church in New York. He has also written “A Prophetic Voice Speaking in the Wilderness. “In 2008, TJ wrote an article for The Huffington Post titled “Governor Palin, did you mean community organizers like Jesus?” This article addressed the benefits of community organizers during the time when Ms. Palin criticized President Obama’s role to establish diverse communities while working on finding solutions for low income status people living in the poor neighboring areas of Chicago.

In May 2011, he was a guest contributor for The Feminist Wire and wrote the article, “Gays and Transgender Prophets – Telling the Truth” that addresses the need for progressive clergy to advocate for human rights in the LGBT community by eliminating bullying and discrimination that is needed to help them become accepted in our nation. In December 2014, he published an article, “Lesson Learned: TJ Williams Reflects on Future after Ferguson” from the Vital Voice, a St. Louis newspaper reflecting on his personal beliefs and experiences of discrimination from local law enforcement in relation to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Personal and Present Life:
TJ, is married to Brad Hauger of Chicago. They were married at The Riverside Church in New York City and were the first gay couple to legally marry at this church. Brad and TJ continue to work to spread public awareness regarding social justice.
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TJ Williams-Hauger 
Chicago, IL
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