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Back to Newspaper articles archive: 2000


Spirit Runners Carry Sacred Message and Spirit of Unity Across U.S. & Canada

United States, Seattle At dawn on May 29, nine ethnically diverse young runners left Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Seattle to begin their journey on foot raising the cry for the unity of humanity across the continent. This is Spirit Run.

What began as the vision of a single young man has blossomed into a summer's journey across the United States & Canada for nine youth from many parts of the country.

Inspired by his Native American heritage (Choctaw) and by the principles of the Bahá'í Faith, Arthur Fernandez-Scarberry envisioned a journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. He envisioned carrying a bundle containing a sacred message to the world and especially to the people of the First Nations, who, as foretold in the Bahá'í writings have the potential to become "so enlightened that the whole earth will be illumined."

It is a vision shared by the Spirit Runners and their support team, who though drawn from different places, backgrounds, races and ethnic heritages are linked by their love for the Bahá'í Faith and its core principle of unity.

"We're no longer living in a time when words are enough. We must take action, for it is our actions that bring to life our words and beliefs." explained Spirit Runner Fernandez-Scarberry.

"Spirit Run is the Bahá'í principle of human unity in action and in motion. It makes this statement not for just one day, but over the course of many weeks. In addition, Spirit Run will carry a sacred message to the people of the First Nations and to the world."

On May 28, a day-long spiritual gathering was held at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Seattle to honor the dedicated young runners, and initiate the three month journey. Guests attended from Native American communities throughout Western Washington in addition to many supporters of Spirit Run. The all-day gathering included dancing, drumming, introductions of the runners, and prayer. In a special dedication, the runners presented, for the first of many times, the message they carry in a sacred bundle.

The Spirit Run journey began the following morning.

Joined along the 3,000-mile route by a river of participants from all ethnic, socioeconomic and religious groups, the nine Spirit Runners-Choctaw, Navajo, African American, Latino, Pacific Islander, Asian and European are watching the vision of harmony become a reality as the miles pass beneath their feet.

The Spirit Run route passes through towns in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois Ohio and Michigan to Canada and across Niagara Falls, concluding at the Shinnecock Reserve outside New York City in August. It crosses reservations across the continent: Flathead, Blackfeet, Crow, Pineridge, Rosebud, Lower Brule, Six Nations, Tuscarora, Tonawanda, Seneca, Onondoga, Oneida and Shinnecock, as well as Traditional lands of many more.

For more than a century, Bahá'í communities around the globe have been working to break down barriers of prejudice between peoples and have collaborated with other like-minded groups to promote the model of a global society. At the heart of their belief is the conviction that humanity is a single people with a common destiny, living in many different cultures. In the words of Bahá'u'lláh [meaning "Glory of God"], Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

Information on the progress of the Spirit Run may be obtained at the Spirit Run Web Site at http://www.spiritrun.org/. Stories, happenings and updates will be posted there, together with a map showing the current position of the runners as they traverse the country.


©Copyright 2000, SpritRun.org

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