“I think it’s very important for Americans, in particular, to be aware of what has happened in our country over the course of the past centuries,” says Ken Bowers, a Baha’i living in Chicago. “It’s horrific in many ways and something that needs to be acknowledged and understood.”
In this video from the Race Unity Project, Ken discusses the impact of oppression in the United States and the lack of awareness that privileged communities have of the injustices that people from marginalized backgrounds face.
Becoming more aware of oppression is a good first step, but taking action to bring about justice is ultimately what we need to heal as a nation. As Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith wrote:
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
“Sometimes, if you’re not a member of the oppressed group,” Ken says, “it’s easy to live one's life not fully appreciating the way that other people must live in this country and the daily slights” and dangers that they have to face.
The Race Unity Project is produced by Journalism for Change, Inc, a nonprofit media organization founded by filmmaker and human rights activist Maziar Bahari, and tells “the century-long story of the American Baha’i community and its efforts — as well as its tests and challenges — in promoting race unity.” Videos from “The Race Unity Project” include candid conversations with Baha’is about issues that are on the minds of many Americans — including why we should commit to working for race unity — even when times get scary and how we can make music to bridge racial divides.
Watch as Ken explains how we can come together and “learn to acknowledge the past, but at the same time, try to find a way forward to the future.”
Radiance Talley is a staff writer at BahaiTeachings.org and a corporate communications associate at One Planet Group. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in communication, a College Park Scholars Arts Citation, and a cognate in journalism. In addition to her writing,...READ MORE