Baha'is Mark Race Unity Day With Picnic, Fellowship

June 15, 2009

Author: Josie Kerk

Source: Rapid City Journal

Black Hills members of the Baha'i faith, a community of more than 5 million internationally, sponsored a potluck at Canyon Lake Park on Sunday to "recognize the principle of human oneness" for Race Unity Day.

"I really think people are searching for something with deeper meaning," Layli Samimi-Moore, the local spiritual assembly chairwoman, said. "Things are spinning out of control."

Race Unity Day was founded by the 165-year-old Baha'i religion in 1957, and is always celebrated on the second Sunday in June. The local Baha'i community has sponsored the picnic in Rapid City for about 25 years, according to Alberta Schulte, a Baha'i of Rapid City for more than 10 years.

More than 50 people, many of whom were new to the unity event, attended the gathering that took place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Schulte said.

Samimi-Moore led an opening prayer at the Canyon Lake shelter. People played badminton and volleyball, and children decorated puppets in the park. And of course, everyone shared food. Meals are an important way of celebrating among Baha'is, Samimi-Moore said.

A round dance, kept time by a Native American Baha'i drummer, concluded the celebration.