I’ve had the privilege of meeting some extraordinary individuals during my lifetime – artists, scholars, committed public servants, and successful entrepreneurs – who have served as touchstones of inspiration for me, encouraging my personal and professional development. Among that collective, perhaps no one has had as profound an impact on my life as our guest today, Ms. Jamila Canady.
In our nearly thirty year friendship – one more like a mother/son relationship – she has counseled me; encouraged me; defended and corrected me, but more than that she has given me the gift of the Baha’i Faith, which she first shared with me while I was a 21-year-old student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
A woman of remarkable insight and accomplishment, Jamilia has been a business owner, an actor and a playwright, an educator, a servant of the poor, a community builder, and a principled proponent of justice. Her frenetic pace – one difficult for someone half her age to match – centers on her life as a Baha’i and her commitment to advancing the Baha’i principle of the oneness of humankind.
Not content to merely espouse the virtues of kindness, compassion, and friendliness, she consistently models these heavenly qualities as she greets the stranger; comforts the sorrowful, and encourages the downcast. In a society that increasingly seems incapable of living the values of its creed, she is a powerful example of someone striving to realize an integrated life, one that reflects the ideals of her beloved faith. I hope you will join us for a lively discussion on the topics of race, community, and faith.