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Waco Texas celebrated Oneness of Humanity

Dear friends,

"The Baha'i community of Waco was firmly established on May 4 with Embrace The World concert", said one of the Baha'i participants. Waco, a city of 200,000 population in the heart of Texas is the home of the largest Baptist University in the nation if not the world. It also is the home of a small community of 12 Baha'is. This mid- size town has been the center of attention because of the current President Bush's Crawford ranch in this area, the tragic event in the athletic department at Baylor University and Davidians several years ago.

On Tuesday May 4, over 500 individuals of whom only 12 were Baha'is attended the concert. Organizers were extremely pleased with total attendance, considering the fact that only less than one hundred advance tickets were purchased one week before the concert. Preparation for advertisement in monthly print media, radio and public television publicity, monitoring of ticket sales, many potent prayers, including Tablet of Ahmad and Remover of Difficulties, were the main reasons for the large turn out toward the end. We also purchased CDs and paid some of our expenses with tickets and gave away CDs for the pledge drive on PBS to publicize the concert.

The main sponsors of the concert were Community Race Relation Coalition (CRRC), which is a non- Baha'i grassroots organization (its aim is to create harmony and understanding between the races) and a few individual Baha'is. From the beginning several of the CRRC Board members were excited and some of them were suspicious and cautious about the purpose of the event and what to expect from it. But these same individuals thanked the Baha'is for bringing the tour to Waco for a celebration of unity and the message of oneness of humanity through music.

Before the musicians go on stage they join and come together and say prayers for unity and assistance, and then these devoted Baha'i artists perform a fusion of world music which brings joy and happiness for the next two hours, with the message of Baha'u'llah proclaimed from the stage.

The concert starts with African drums and later combines quotations from the prayers and writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and Abd'u'lbaha. Musicians speak about origin of humanity, harmony of science and religion regarding oneness of mankind, the world as a global village, and the need for its organic unity with humor and integrity. The phenomenal combinations of erhu, violins, percussions, flutes, guitars, keyboards, and vocalists playing and singing songs which are inspired and played by these devoted Baha'i professional musicians, David, Eric, Farzad, Istvan, KC, Kieran, Leonor, Lin, and Naseem, representing China, Columbia, Hungary, Iran, Scotland, Guatemala, US and of course "Texas" .!! The diversity includes races, ages, genders and nationalities. Combination of these elements created the energy that brought the audience on their feet several times. We saw Board members of CRRC dancing and jubilant, one could not believe that these were the same suspicious and cautious individuals a couple of weeks ago. For the Encore Lin starts with "Ya Baha'u'l Abha" and "Ya Aliy'u'l Ala", and the rest of the artists follow with a climax of all of the musicians involved. A Chinese Baha'i musician, blazoning His Name from stage, brings out tears of joy after our hearts were broken with the terrible news of recent desecration of the grave site of Quddus in Iran.

We want to thank all of the artists who have sacrificed for almost a month, in order to bring the message of the Faith of Baha'u'llah to our city in such a massive scale from the stage.

Brenda Khozein

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