Bahá'í Library Online
.. . .
Back to Newspaper articles archive: 1999


CONTACT: Al Viller

Messengers of the Dawn visit Norcross

NORCOSS, Georgia -- 28 July 1999 -- It is a summer day in HOTlanta, and a group of kids are sweating as they practice "stepping," a style of dance with African origins that is popular among black fraternities at U.S. colleges and universities. The scene is not so unusual except that this group is multi-racial and multi-cultural, ranging in ages from 12 to 25, who want nothing more than to show people what they believe in so strongly - the importance of unity and peace.

To get that word out, the group of 40 youth and young adults, called the Messengers of the Dawn - a Baha'i Youth Workshop, has been performing across the South for the past month, traveling from California, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Florida. They are scheduled to perform on Thursday, 29 July at 7 p.m. in Thrasher Park in Norcross, Georgia.

The event is open to the public; lemonade and punch will be served without charge. "Imagine a world where children are born without prejudice," said Al Viller a member of the Baha'i community in North Gwinnett County. "These youth are a vibrant example of what our world can become. Baha'is hold the principle of the elimination of prejudice in high regard, which is why the Baha'is of North Gwinnett have sponsored this event."

"Any time we can present our message through the arts, that's a great thing," said Housein Rodrigo Cornell, a 21-year old youth coordinator. "What we want to get across is the oneness of mankind, the abolition of all forms of prejudice, and the equality of women and men."

There is no need to look any further than the T-shirts they sweat in to learn the beliefs of the 40 teens and young adults who make up the Messengers of the Dawn Baha'i Youth Workshop. Some read "Unity in Diversity is the Key;" another touts "Racism - Just UnDo It". The group chose to travel through the South because of the racial tensions that exist here.

"This is one kind of art to show the people that we are one," Dayyan Moghaddas, 15, said of the racially diverse steppers. "We feel like that gets across in the performance."

With a precision that would more than meet military standards, the group keeps a flow going that is, at times, fast and furious, and at others, graceful and rhythmic. Traveling from as far away as California, the group is touring the South to promote the oneness of humanity, emphasize the equality of women and men, and share the message of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith.

EDITOR'S NOTE: About the Baha'i Youth Workshop: In the summer of 1974, the first Baha'i Youth Workshop was formed in the home of Oscar Freddie De Gruy. Many of these first workshop members were not Baha'is. They were neighborhood youth who hung around the De Gruy home where many Baha'i activities took place. They participated in the regular meetings and activities that were designed to appeal to youth and young adults. Wile many of these young people became Baha'is, the found it difficult to serve and teach the Baha'i principles. They then began exploring ways in which they could feel comfortable communicating their message as youth. The Baha'i Youth Workshop is a group of young people who, through the performing arts, convey messages of universal peace, unity in diversity, and spiritual awareness.

Presently there are over 100 Workshops in the United States and 40 international groups. Through drama, dance, and music... the Baha'i Youth Workshops are communicating a vision of a society that is founded on trust, fellowship, harmony, and love.

References to the Baha'i Faith should appear in printed publications with both the words Baha'i and Faith beginning with initial capital letters (i.e., the Baha'i Faith).

# # #

The Baha'i religion with over 5 million believers worldwide, has a membership of approximately 133,000 in the United States. Baha'i writings and literature have been translated into more than 800 languages. Followers of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith, come from diverse backgrounds and include representatives of over 2,100 tribes and minorities. The central beliefs include the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of humanity.

©Copyright, 1999 Atlanta Baha'i Information Center

. .