Growing up, Sue St. Clair, a Nashville resident, only knew what it was like to live around Black people. Because of racism and segregation, she had no idea what it was like to be around white people who weren’t watching or judging her and her community.
That’s why the oneness of humanity and the elimination of all forms of prejudice are two spiritual principles that attracted Sue to the Baha'i Faith. Indeed, Abdu’l-Baha, the authorized interpreter of the Baha’i writings and the son of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, said in a talk in Paris in 1911, “What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.”
In this video clip from “The Race Unity Project,” Sue shares what it was like, given her experiences with racism, to see a display of interracial love and friendship for the first time. This happened during a visit to the Baha’i House of Worship for North America, located on the shores of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago in Wilmette, Illinois.
“When we got to the [Baha'i] House of Worship, we were going down the steps into what is called Foundation Hall,” Sue recalls. “The first thing I see is a white man hugging a Black woman.”
Produced by Journalism for Change, Inc, a nonprofit media organization founded by filmmaker and human rights activist Maziar Bahari, the project shares “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 about everything from standing strong in the face of hatred to how spirituality helped an interracial couple confront racism.
Watch as Sue describes the visceral reaction she had to seeing this hug and the transformation that took place inside her after realizing the power that the Baha'i Faith has to bring about unity in diversity.
“This faith is really true,” she says.
Radiance Talley is the community and content manager at BahaiTeachings.org. 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, drawing, presentation, and public speaking experience, Radiance...READ MORE