Task Force Encourages Communities to Make Accessibility a Priority

A man stands at a lectern. He is using American Sign Language.
Austin Vaday signs “nothing” in American Sign Language.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing people have a great deal to contribute to Baha’i activities, and with a few accommodations can more readily take part in them to everyone’s benefit.

This is a message championed by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Task Force for the Baha’i community. Appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, the national governing council, the task force has existed off and on since the 1980s. Today, it has four members—Naledi Raspberry, Tavoria Kellam, Jason Schwartz and Erin Salmon—who, with assistance from people like Austin Vaday, are working to educate Baha’i communities about how to improve accessibility.

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Professor prepares future educators by ‘entering the space with love’

A woman speaks to a class of young adults.
Ashley Patterson (right, standing) conducts an education class at Pennsylvania State University. Photo courtesy of Penn State News.

Recently in a class at Pennsylvania State University, the instructor, Ashley Patterson, asked the class of 25 students: How many had ever been into the house of someone of a different race? One raised a hand.

Then: How many ever had a meal with someone of a different race? Two.

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South Dakota Scholars Discuss Race Issues with Aid of Baha’i Principles

Webcam images of four women on a video call.
Study group participants in Brookings, South Dakota. Screenshot courtesy of Dianne Nagy.

Though it’s 200 miles from Minneapolis, the college town of Brookings, South Dakota, keenly felt the repercussions of George Floyd’s killing in May 2020, and the national turmoil surrounding race. 

Dianne Nagy, a Baha’i with considerable experience in local human rights activities, immediately got to work bringing Baha’i-inspired perspectives into the conversation. 

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Indianans “Light Up the Night” for racial justice

Three women hold candles at dusk. They wear face masks.
A few of the 100 or so people who attended the “Light up the Night” event in Fort Wayne. Photo courtesy of the Harrison Hill Neighborhood Association.

Harrison Hill is a historic residential neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is home to people of diverse ancestries — and for many that’s a cause for celebration. The decades-long marriage of two of the neighborhood’s residents, Gayle and Akinlana (“Akin”) Bevill-DaDa, exemplifies the possibilities for interracial relationships. Gayle is white and Akin is Black.

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An Introduction to the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha

As the Baha’i world prepares to commemorate the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s ascension and anticipates the construction of His shrine and final resting place, the time is ripe to review His talks and writings (which you can find online here at the Baha’i Reference Library). One of His most important writings is the Will and Testament, in which He appoints a successor and provides instructions on the administration of the global Baha’i community. To aid in the study of this crucial document, this article discusses its significance, its historical context, and its main themes.

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Midwest Youth Conference Participants Seek Solutions to Racism

Summer 2020 will long be remembered for protests against racial injustice that filled the streets of many U.S. cities. Young people have been at the forefront of this movement, impatient with the nation’s status quo — a feeling no doubt shared by many young Baha’is. 

The Midwest Youth Conference, July 18–19, sought to develop a response to this social reality. Held via online videoconference, it attracted 75 participants from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

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Public Health Protocols Guide Georgia Youth Camp

Two young people study together
Atlanta-area youth camp participants take part in one-on-one study. Photo courtesy of Jasmine Miller-Kleinhenz

Many U.S. Baha’i communities have moved nearly all activities that would usually take place indoors to online platforms since the pandemic broke out earlier this year. 

Yet not everyone has access to reliable devices, digital literacy, a stable Internet connection, quiet space or other resources that make online engagement possible, as the team coordinating activities in the Indian Creek neighborhood of Stone Mountain, Georgia, discovered. 

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Shoghi Effendi’s Call for Racial Justice

A protestor holds a sign saying "ENOUGH"

In The Advent of Divine Justice, Shoghi Effendi laid out a path for the U.S. and Canadian Baha’i communities to contribute to the transformation of their societies, as summarized in introduction to the Advent of Divine Justice. Addressing the United States in particular, he identified “racial prejudice” as “the most vital and challenging issue confronting the Baha’i community,” for this issue permeated the entire nation, which he called “a prey to one of the most virulent and long-standing forms of racial prejudice.”

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The Advent of Divine Justice: An Introduction

Photo of a book

Baha’u’llah proclaimed to humanity that “these great oppressions that have befallen the world are preparing it for the advent of the Most Great Justice.”1 His teachings lay out a blueprint for establishing a just world civilization founded on international cooperation, and the paramount task of His successors has been to give people around the world access to this blueprint.

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