“In a time when racial tensions continue to churn across the country, members of the local Bahá’í Faith community are working to foster friendships to bridge the divides,” commented Alexandra Mester in her May 21, 2021 article in Toledo’s The Blade.
More than 30 people attended a Race Amity Festival May 14 at Wildwood Metropark in person, while more attended virtually, she reported. People of varying backgrounds and faiths, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Bahá’í, listened to speakers and participated in group discussions. Activities also included ice-breakers, music and dance performances.
The March 1 session of the Racial Justice and Unity Forum explored the Multi-Racial Unity Living experience (MRULE), a 25-year (and counting!) effort to build multi-racial community among undergraduate students at Michigan State University, and the insights it offers for those concerned with community building and racial justice and unity.
The three presenters gave an overview of the origins and inner workings of the program and its development over time.
Akin and Gayle will share insights they have gained from grassroots community-building initiatives in their neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana — inspired by messages from the Bahá’í World Centre to contribute to the betterment of the world at the local level. They felt a deep desire to get to know their neighbors and have their neighbors come to know them. Taking one small step at a time led to numerous creative developments resulting in new friendships and activities.
In the aftermath of the George Floyd incident, there were 23 consecutive weeks of Black Lives Matter rallies in Yellow Springs. These rallies were organized primarily by youth in our town, some of whom had gone through local Bahá’í children’s programs. Inspired by the rallies and in solidarity with our youth and BLM initiatives taking place around the country, Cyprian Sajabi, my wife, Elaine, and I held what turned out to be three consecutive Zoom devotionals on racial justice issues.
“Living the Dream – A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” was the focus of the presentation by Dr. Gwen Etter-Lewis at the fifth Racial Justice and Unity Forum on January 11, 2021.
What an amazing experience to be part of this Forum gathering – with 200 registered participants, of which 45 were seekers. More than 35 Bahá’ís volunteered to be facilitators of the breakout groups – 17 each having about 12 participants, in addition to two facilitators.
Dr. Gwen Etter-Lewis, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) professor of English, Linguistics, Black World Studies and Women’s Studies, will be the featured speaker at the January 11, 2021 session of the Racial Justice and Unity Forum, sponsored by the Regional Bahá’í Council of the Midwestern States.