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Portsmouth, NH             Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Nate Holloway

Bahá’is honor Holloway for his racial unity work

By Chris Elliott

Community activist and county government official Nate Holloway has long been a tireless worker for racial equity on the Seacoast. Sunday, Holloway was recognized for his efforts by The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of Exeter as this year’s recipient of the Vision of Race Unity Award.

In cooperation with Green Acre Bahá’i School of Eliot, Maine, The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of Exeter presented the 13th annual award at a ceremony at Green Acre. Approximately 70 people attended.

"We’re really pleased to honor Mr. Holloway like this," said Allison Grover, a member of the Exeter Bahá’is. "He’s been working a long time on this issue that we feel is so essential."

Holloway’s career began in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at Pease Air Force Base, and served on missions in Japan and the Philippines. Upon retiring from the Air Force, he made the New Hampshire Seacoast his home, where he began working for Rockingham County in the Department of Corrections. He was also equal-employment-opportunity officer for the Rockingham County Community Action Program.

Holloway has served on the Portsmouth Board of Adjustment for 16 years, and was its chairman for five. He is currently a Rockingham County bail commissioner and has been involved in recruiting and training minority police officers in the area.

He was co-founder of the Portsmouth branch of the NAACP, and currently serves as deacon at the New Hope Baptist Church. Holloway is also the current chairman of the Seacoast Martin Luther King Coalition.

In association with other advocacy groups, the coalition’s efforts to coax the New Hampshire Legislature to adopt the Martin Luther King holiday are in large part responsible for the state finally adopting Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day. New Hampshire was the last state in the nation to adopt the holiday.

Sunday’s ceremony began with a solo piano piece played by Henry Chen, followed by a prayer read by master of ceremonies and Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of Exeter member, Jon Ring. Bahá’i members Lee and Larry Hosak led the audience in a song, and Judi Godkin, also of the Exeter Bahá’is, read an excerpt from a Martin Luther King essay. ckingham County Community Action Program.

The keynote speaker, Richard W. Thomas, delivered a 15-minute speech in which he addressed the history and future of race relations in America. Thomas is a professor of history and urban affairs at the University of Michigan.

He is a frequent lecturer on race relations, and the author of several books, including "Racial Unity: An Imperative for Social Progress", and "Life For Us is What We Make It: Building the Black Community in Detroit."

Thomas remarked at the rapid progress America has made in race relations, noting the successful integration of professional sports, an effort that began only 50 years ago.

Thomas warned of the consequences of failure to remain vigilant in the pursuit of true racial unity in America, and urged the audience to "help build a multiracial society founded on love and justice.

"Tolerance is not enough. Tolerance implies that you’re putting up with something. We have to move toward becoming a society that welcomes diversity, not one that merely tolerates it," Thomas said.

After Thomas’ speech, The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of Exeter presented the Vision of Race Unity Award to Holloway, who accepted the recognition, adding that the effort to bring Martin Luther King Day to New Hampshire was "a long, hard road." , and Judi Godkin, also of the Exeter Bahá’is, read an excerpt from a Martin Luther King essay.

Following the ceremony, Milagro Redfeather, a Bahá’i member and Native American, conducted a friendship circle, a native American ritual in which all join hands in a forming a large circle. Burning sage is waved in front of each person in the circle, signifying purification and unity.

Afterward, refreshments were served in the Green Acre sanctuary building.

©Copyright 2003, Portsmouht Herald (NH, USA)

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