The friends in Baltimore share how they responded to questions about race.
We were invited to join with the First Unitarian church of Baltimore in an ADORE (a dialogue on race and ethnicity) on Friday, May 1st. From the Baha’i Community we had youth and junior youth and adults [many from the wider community joined us]. We initially shared a pot luck meal together and were able to meet the members of the church as well as their other guests. Then we gathered and everyone introduced themselves. Interestingly, almost all the youth were from the Baha’i Community. There were also members of other Unitarian churches from around the area and members of the Maryland Ethical Society and some individuals that did not identify themselves with any organization. We then all watched a TED talk that focused on institutional racism. This was very informative; the audience then was divided in groups of 2 for a 15 minute dialogue to come up with a message to help Baltimore city's problems of racism. Everyone was told to pick a person that they did not know before and a different age group than themselves. This encouraged our youth to hold dialogues with adults.
At the end of the small group conversations, then people had a chance to share what they talked about. Every one of the youths that attended from the Baha'i community, bravely raised their hands and shared their thoughts. Even the youth that are usually quiet during youth group felt empowered to share. This was impressive sight to hear them eloquently express their thought and paths of action with a large group of people they had never met before.
After this discussion the Unitarian Minster shared a few words and let everyone in an exercise of breathing in and breathing out. Then we were invited to join this dialogue again on June 12th. The members of the Unitarian church then held lighted candles and went outside to stand in a vigil and sing songs about Unity. Some of the Baha'i Community members joined in as well.
This was very educational for the junior youth group and it was very refreshing for the Unitarian Church to have the youth involved. Speaking to one of the members, she stated that they are [learning about] engaging their youth, and she was interested in activities to join our youths together. She may bring her daughter to the next junior youth group meeting on Friday.