Bahai News - Hernando Bahais spread notion of unity
Hernando Bahais spread notion of unity
A recent gathering of local Bahai members provides an
opportunity to discuss the importance of racial unity at home and
By JEAN JOHNSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 27, 1999
Imagine a world with everyone being equal -- men and women,
races, religions, the elimination of all prejudice.
A world where there is a oneness of humanity.
This is what the Bahai faith strives for. In fact, the group's
motto is "Oneness of Mankind."
The local Bahai community sponsored a free talk and video at its
monthly gathering, held at the home of Bill and Carol Newell, treasurer
and secretary, respectively, of the Bahai community. The subject of the
meeting, the power of race unity, is one of the main thrusts of the
During the meeting, members discussed founding a Hernando County
branch of Campanytown, a multicultural camp with branches in other areas
of Florida. The camp provides youngsters with a place to have fun and
discuss preventing and solving multicultural problems.. The nearest camp
for Hernando residents is in Pinellas County.
Two videos were also shown at the meeting, one that offered a
worldwide view of the activities and plans of Bahais. The second video
presented the efforts of Anisa Kent, an 8-year-old Bahai girl. Anisa
couldn't understand prejudice and racism and wanted to know "why should
we fight and fuss and why can't we all get along?"
In 1991, with the help of her parents and teachers, she formed
Calling all Colors and moderated a Bahai-sponsored conference in Conway,
S.C. Participants talked about how people could best get along together
using the Bahais as an example. Racism and the effects of racism were
discussed, in addition to ways to make youngsters more aware of acts of
Out of this conference, which is still held annually, came the
slogan "Color me human," which is used as bumper stickers and the names
of children's clubs.
Color Me Human events are held in other cities and states; groups
meet regularly in the St. Petersburg Bahai center and in Tampa in
cooperation with other faiths.
In addition to discussion periods, participants play educational
games and participate in creative dances and activities.
Hernando Bahai president Dori Peloquin's daughter, Miranda, was
inspired by Anisa's progress and initiative regarding the Calling all
Colors conferences. Peloquin said Miranda is eager to have a branch of
Color Me Human in Hernando County.
Peloquin said her daughter, a 10-year-old, fourth-grader at Floyd
Elementary School, will do her best to get something going close to
home, where there are 16 members of the Bahai community. The board of
directors is made up of Peloquin and the Newells.
Members, who believe in the oneness of all the major religions,
are encouraged to read not only the Bible but the Koran and all other
holy books "because they all have a message for us," Peloquin said.
"They are all important for us." Members also are encouraged to attend
and enjoy other churches.
The Newells, who are white, say they go out of their way to meet
people of other races and cultures. They are members of the
African-American Club of Hernando County and participate in the club's
education committee and scholarship program.
Though the Newells have served the Bahai for 20 years, they are
not dissatisfied with the 16-member group's size.
"We're not discouraged," Bill Newell said, "because the number
who are aware of our existence is great as opposed to the none who knew
we existed when we first came to the county. Now hundreds know we are
©Copyright 2000, St. Petersburg Times
Page last updated/revised 030400
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