By Erik Tryggestad
Savannah Morning News
While their parents were inside the Lake Mayer pavilion Sunday
hearing about race unity, three elementary school kids were busy
But as far as they were concerned, they were just playing baseball.
"We like the same sports. It doesn't matter what race you are," said
10-year-old Howard Mufuka Jr. He's known Mikkel Allison, who's 11, since
they were in pre-kindergarten, and recently Howard went with Mikkel's
family to a Baha'i service, where they got fliers about Sunday's Race
Baha'is stress the oneness of God, oneness of religion and oneness of
humanity, so race unity is of key importance to them. To achieve that
goal, they used more than 1,000 pounds of fish -- whiting, flounder and
spots -- fried by volunteers, including Gladys Walker and Comer Flynn.
Hundreds of people -- old, young and a rainbow of colors -- ate it up.
"It's a long line," said Brenda Walker, a member of the Baha'i Faith
Community of Savannah. The event drew a mix of races and religions.
Event organizer Michael O'Neal said that was accomplished on purpose.
"My method is to invite everyone I see, and I mean it," he said. If he
invited 20 blacks, he would also try to invite 20 whites.
"We don't leave that to chance," he said.
Without some measure of race unity, Howard, who just finished fourth
grade, said he wouldn't be at his current school in Ridgeland. He said
he's one of a handful of black students there. Mikkel and classmate
Ludovic Bernad, 10, both white, go to school in Beaufort and said that
although they have friends of many races, racism itself still exists.
"In the past, there was a lot of segregation," said Ludovic, who finishes
fourth grade this week. "Even though it's more diverse, it's still...
people don't want to be with people who are different."
It's apparent when they play games like four square or "capture the flag,"
the boys said. White kids tend to cheer for white kids. Black kids cheer
for black kids. They said that stresses the need for race unity at all age
"If you can't get along with each other, you'd just have a lot of arguments
with each other," Mikkel said as he thumped his plastic bat on the ground.
The boys resumed their game as the crowd in the pavilion listened to
Jack Lenz and the First Commandment Gospel Singers. Among that crowd
were Hugh Cain and Michael Gilmour, of the Unity Church. They said the
message of the event lined up perfectly with their beliefs.
"We believe that Christ came to teach us that we are all sons and
daughters of God," Gilmour said.
Reporter Erik Tryggestad can
be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 652-0318.
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