“When I went off to private school, it was the first time that I heard the ‘n-word,’” says Atlanta-based Baha’i Faith Holmes, about her experience growing up in a majority-white community in south Florida. Because she asked her mother what the word meant, Faith says her mom decided to teach her a lesson about race in the United States: She took Faith to a Black Baptist church so she could learn what it felt like to be the minority.
In this short video, Faith discusses this pivotal moment in her upbringing and how it inspired her to live a life of activism. The clip is a part of the “Race Unity Project”— a video series produced by Journalism for Change, Inc, a nonprofit media organization founded by filmmaker and human rights activist Maziar Bahari. The project 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.”
“I’m sure we were the only white people who had ever stepped foot in this church,” Faith says. And at the end of the service, the pastor invited all the children to go off to Sunday school, but Faith says she told her mother that she didn’t want to go.
Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, wrote that “every organized community enlisted under the banner of Baha’u’llah should feel it to be its first and inescapable obligation to nurture, encourage, and safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, race, class, or nation within it.”
“We are one human family, and most of the world doesn’t see it that way,” Faith says her mom told her. Watch as Faith explains how her mother, who is also a Baha’i, gave her some much-needed perspective about what’s required to foster race unity.