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Bahai members help keep King’s dream alive

Bahai members help keep King’s dream alive


January 21, 2003
Sentinel staff writer

Drivers honked at a woman holding two 10-foot plastic poles with
white cardboard doves on top.
A crowd sang “This Little Light Of Mine” as they held candles and
pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. Others held signs that read more like
pleas than protests: “One people. One planet. Please.”
Many of the 150 people who attended a Monday afternoon rally at
the Town Clock had a dual purpose: celebrating the memory of
America’s most influential civil rights leader, while voicing opposition
to a potential U.S.-led war on Iraq. The celebration/rally, organized
by area members of the Bahai movement, was peaceful and soulful,
filled with songs, harmonica and the sound of strumming guitars.
A few in the crowd wept when a group began to sing, “My God, my
adored one, my king.” The crowd went silent and listened to King’s “I
Have A Dream” speech.
It was also a show of pride. This beach town is often characterized
as homogenous, but more than a third of the people in the crowd
were African Americans, mostly from Santa Cruz, including several
members of the Progressive Baptist Church.
Ann Miller, part of the task force that put together the celebration,
said she is well aware that members of the Bahai faith face
persecution in Iraq and Iran.
“But war is never a solution,” she said. “Violence creates violence.”
She said she believes in a peaceful “world order” beginning with the
United Nations leading countries to work through their problems and
pursue nonviolent solutions.
Many of the broad speeches touched on the legacy of King,
assassinated 35 years ago, and the tense situation in Iraq.
“Dr. King set forth his light as a sacrifice, not just for one race but for
mankind,” said Samuel Love, pastor for the Progressive Baptist
Church. “We are grateful we can stand together under the divine
umbrella of unity this afternoon.”
Love later said war, at times, is inevitable, “but before we push the
panic button, our president should pursue all other resources.’’
Dr. Raymond Terry, pastor of Lifeline Church of God and Christ in Live
Oak, recited a poem about King being “on top of the mountain, and he
cannot be conquered,” and how the road to peace, hope and glory is
never easy but always worthwhile.
The Bahai faith includes teachings about overcoming racial prejudice.
Its adherents, according to the Web site, believe each of
the religions, “brought by the messengers of God: Moses, Krishna,
Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Mohammed” represents a successive stage
in the spiritual development of civilization.”
Also this week, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.: A convocation at 7
p.m. today at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, featuring a lecture by
the Rev. Jim Lawson, sponsored by UC Santa Cruz. Admission is free.
Lawson, who worked with King during the civil rights movement, also
will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Darling House bed and
breakfast, 314 West Cliff Drive. Requested donations are $10 to $25.
He also will lecture at 7 p.m. Friday at the First Congregational
Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz, with $5 to $10 in requested
Contact Dan White at dwhite (at)

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