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.
Have you ever wondered why, if every heart has been prepared to recognize truth and accept the Blessed Beauty, that there isn’t more of a rush to enter this garden of delight available to all humankind? Even though I have some idea of the wonder of God’s timing in all things, I have become discouraged off and on. Until now. Here’s my story.
“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.
Ohio Bahá’ís sent entreaties to the Concourse on High for special assistance during a personal prayer and teaching campaign January 2-17, 2021.
During this state-wide special expansion event, believers concentrated prayers on specific individuals of their choosing and attempted to find new acquaintances who may become attracted to the Faith, who could be engaged in elevated conversations, and invited to devotionals, firesides and study circles. We all called on the ready resources of the next world.
For a year and a half, we have been offering meditation/devotions bi-weekly. When it started, the primary participants were Bahá’ís and it was conducted in our home. Along the way, Kathleen Benson (my wife) decided to get a Certification in Meditation and Mindfulness from the “School of Positive Transformation.”
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.