MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2002
Race Unity Day to be held Sunday
Globe Staff Writer
Local marimba band Kufara is scheduled to perform during the annual Race Unity Day picnic this coming Sunday at Ewert Park, Seventh Street and Murphy Boulevard in Joplin.
The picnic, scheduled for noon to 6 p.m., is a way for the Joplin area Baha’i community to observe the national event. People of all races, religions, nationalities and ethnic backgrounds are invited to attend, organizers said. They are asked to bring picnic baskets. Drinks will be provided.
Kufara will perform at 2 p.m.
In addition to the band, there will be games, balloons and prizes for children.
Race Unity Day was inaugurated in 1957 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States to promote racial harmony and understanding. It is sponsored annually on the second Sunday in June by members of the Baha’i faith throughout the nation. The event originally was called Race Amity Day; the name was changed to Race Unity Day in 1965.
The oneness of humanity is part of the Baha’i faith.
Baha’i is a modern religion, developed originally in Iran, that stresses principles of universal brotherhood and social equality.
The Universal House of Justice (the international governing body of Baha’is) stated in 1985 that racism remains one of the major obstacles to achieving world peace, and that its practice “perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext.”
Dan Goepfert, a local Baha’i and organizer of the event in Joplin, said it is just one way to bring people of different races, nationalities and cultures together.
“We’ve started getting a pretty good crowd for it,” he said of the event, which has been going on for the past decade in the Joplin area.
“For us, this is kind of a beginning, to open a dialogue.”
He said that although there have been major strides in the past several years, racism still is alive in this country.
“All you have to do is talk to a person of color or minority culture, and they can tell you it’s not gone,” he said.
©Copyright 2002, The Joplin Globe