Bahai News -- Baha'i celebration honors Buzz editor

Baha'i celebration honors Buzz editor

The Baha'i community of Charlotte County recently honored Christy Arnold, editor of The Buzz, the Sun's weekly teen supplement, with its annual Exemplary Service Award.

Iona Janniere, Ph.D., of North Port, presented the award to Arnold at the Baha'i's Seventh Annual Racial Unity Day, held at the Port Charlotte Beach Complex on June 8. About three dozen people attended.

"For the courage she expressed in the face of hatred, bigotry and prejudice of others, and the positive and bold example she provides the youth of Southwest Florida," Arnold's plaque reads. It also quotes Baha'ullah, the 19th-century founder of the Baha'i religion: "So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole Earth."

On the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday this year, Arnold ran a picture of the martyred civil rights leader on the Buzz's cover and quoted his famous "I have a dream" speech inside. The photo and article provoked an unanticipated barrage of hate mail, more mail than the Buzz had ever received on any subject before, Arnold said.

"Teachers thanked me," Arnold said. "They said it provoked good discussions in their classrooms."

Sunday's event also featured a prayer by Albert Sensley, a brief talk on racial unity by Whelma Thompson and music by the band Joshua's Creek.

Local Baha'is don't have a church, but they meet for a prayer service -- which is open to all faiths -- at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Sunday of each month at the North Port Library. For more information, contact Joan Hensley at 255-9231 in Port Charlotte or call 423-8376 in North Port. A toll free number is available, 1-800-22-UNITE, and there is a Web site,

You can e-mail Malcolm Brenner at


Staff Writer

©Copyright 2003, Sun-Herald (FL, USA)

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