Deriving its name from the Arabic expression Khaleena eid wahda, Let's Be One Hand (LBOH) is a project of Kim Yaged, a playwright with extensive experience in film and television. The project's name is based on the truism that, like the fingers of a hand, people “are more than the sum of [their] parts” when they work collaboratively toward a common goal.
LBOH's primary focus is to “facilitate a cross-cultural exchange between Muslims and people of other faiths and backgrounds who do not usually have access to or interact with one another,” so as to “increase understanding and encourage coexistence.” This objective is founded on the planted axiom that “people hate because they fear,” and “they fear because they don't know or understand something.” The implication is that if non-Muslims were to comprehend more fully the tenets and traditions of Islam, they would arrive at the comforting realization that, as Yaged claims, “we're more similar than different.” As such, says LBOH, people would become ever-more inclined “to build one cohesive community based on tolerance and understanding.”
The centerpiece of LBOH's effort to “replace walls with bridges” between Muslims and non-Muslims is an interactive website, which is still under development as of this writing (December 2011). Once completed, the site will feature a section containing “information about Islam.” A related section—titled “[Not so] Silly & Stupid!”—will encourage people to pose questions that they may previously have been “too shy, afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed to ask” about the Islamic faith. Further, the website will feature “images and profiles of Muslims and people from what's frequently referred to as 'the Muslim world'.” Visitors to the site will be invited not only to contact those people, but also to post visual or verbal representations of themselves and their own ideas, thereby cultivating a spirit of kinship and “cross-cultural understanding.”
LBOH's fiscal sponsor is Community Links International (CLI), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that seeks to use “cross-border, cross-cultural immersion experiences” to “provide people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to learn about the interconnectedness of our local, national, and global realities.” In the role of fiscal sponsor, CLI gives LBOH the shelter of its tax-exempt charity status and the benefit of its administrative experience.
One of Kim Yaged's most significant theatrical productions to date is “America,” a play that, according to Bowie State University professor Renee Charlow, “focuses on the interactions of all the different groups that make up America today and how perceptions and misconceptions fuel the way Americans interact as a whole.”
Another of Yaged's works is titled “Jews in Berlin,” wherein she states that while she is “not proud” to be an American, “there's no shame” in being one, either. Yaged then issues a qualifier, however: “Okay, maybe when I’m in Latin America there’s a little shame.”
For an overview of Ms. Yaged's other creative productions, click here.