“Let neither think that anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil has left on the fair name of their common country.”
-Shoghi Effendi, 1938
SUNDAY, JUNE 9: Work to erase racial stigmas in your community today by joining Bah’ais for Race Unity Day. Since 1957, Baha’is have reserved the second Sunday in June as a time to hold celebrations for racial harmony, all the while working toward equality. From the beginning, the founder of the Baha’i faith stressed the importance of humanity as a single race. Specifically, Baha’u’llah instructed his followers: “Close your eyes to racial differences and welcome all with the light of oneness.” Although Baha’is welcome all races and classes into their congregations every day of the year, Race Unity Day calls for an extension of this openness.
For almost a century, Baha’is of North America have considered racial prejudice to be “the most challenging (moral) issue.” In 1938, Baha’i Guardian Shoghi Effendi addressed faith communities in the United States and Canada with the notion that racial prejudice was a vital issue; Baha’is in this region have regarded racial unity as their top social priority ever since. Striving to live an international example, Baha’is have implemented unity into their individual lives, too: the first Baha’i interracial marriage in the United States took place in 1914. Two years earlier, Baha’u’llah’s son, Abdu’l-Baha, took a nine-month tour of the United States and frequently addressed racial unity in his speeches.
With the understanding that each community faces its own challenges, Baha’u’llah preached the elimination of all forms of prejudice: racial, ethnic, national, gender and economic. (Read more at Planet Baha’i.) At its foundation, the Baha’i faith teaches that inequality and injustice thwart a thriving society. If willing to undergo a deeper, spiritual transformation, Baha’is believe that the collective behavior can be changed. (Learn more perspectives on race unity from Bahai.US.)