The Baha’is of Rochester join with our community in profound grief at the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and numerous others who suffered from terrible violence and injustice. We are encouraged by new policy initiatives addressing this issue, but also recognize that these efforts will not succeed in the long run unless they are grounded in spiritual principles.

“Racism is a profound deviation from the standard of true morality… The change required is not merely social and economic, but above all moral and spiritual,” according to the Universal House of Justice of the Baha’i Faith.

On Juneteenth, the Baha’is of the United States released a message addressing these issues. They wrote: “To create a just society begins with recognition of the fundamental truth that humanity is one. But it is not enough simply to believe this in our hearts. It creates the moral imperative to act, and to view all aspects of our personal, social and institutional lives through the lens of justice. It implies a reordering of our society more profound than anything we have yet achieved. And it requires the participation of Americans of every race and background, for it is only through such inclusive participation that new moral and social directions can emerge.

Whatever immediate results might come from the current demonstrations, the elimination of racism will require a sustained and concerted effort. It is one thing to protest against particular forms of injustice. It is a far more profound challenge to create a new framework for justice. Our efforts can only succeed when we learn to build relationships with each other based on sincere friendship, regard, and trust, which, in turn, become pillars for the activities of our institutions and communities.”

A just society recognizes the equality of all people, and we believe religion plays a key role in establishing a just society. All major faiths believe in the Golden Rule: To treat others as we want to be treated. To see every person as a child of God can give us “faith, strength, and creativity to transform our own hearts, as we also work for the transformation of society.”

“We have come to a moment of great public awareness and rejection of injustice,” the Baha’i message concludes. “Let us not lose this opportunity. Will we commit to the process of forming “a more perfect union?” Will we be guided by “the better angels of our nature” to choose the course of wisdom, of courage, and of unity? Will we choose to truly become that “city upon a hill” to serve as inspiration to all humanity? Let us then join hands with each other in commitment to the path of justice. Together we can surely achieve this.” We must choose a path of understanding, fortitude, and unity to establish that “more perfect union,” and serve as an inspiration to the world.

From the Baha’i Faith of Rochester

The Baha'i Faith is a world religion that teaches the unity and equality of all people. The Rochester Baha'i Community promotes the abolition of all prejudice and the essential nobility of all human beings.