MAY 18 - MAY 20, 2021


Advancing Together: Forging a Path Toward a Just, Inclusive and Unified Society


A National Symposium on Racial Justice and Social Change in America


In May of 1921, the American Bahá’í community hosted a national conference on “race amity” in Washington, D.C. This conference reflected the community’s founding commitment to the cause of racial unity and justice – which Bahá’ís have long viewed as our nation’s most vital and challenging issue. Over the ensuing century, Bahá’ís have pursued this same commitment through an ever-expanding range of endeavors, based on a spiritual conviction that the diversity of the human family is a source of beauty, richness, and strength, which can only flourish though a collective understanding of our mutuality and interconnectedness.

An early race amity conference held in Springfield, MA, 1921

On the centenary of the 1921 race amity conference, the American Bahá’í community invites you to participate in a virtual symposium, to be held May 18 - 20, 2021, to reflect on the ongoing struggle for racial justice in our nation. The purpose of this symposium is to invite people from diverse backgrounds to reflect on efforts and possibilities for racial justice. Broadly, this symposium will explore the question of how we create conditions that encourage growing numbers of people to actively participate in efforts to eliminate all forms of racism from our society and thereby enable all its citizens to realize their true potential. The success of such efforts will ultimately depend on our ability to continually invite the participation of more people as partners in a spirit of mutual learning. Toward this end, the symposium will be organized around the following questions which arose through a process of ongoing dialogue with many of the contributors to this symposium and others. Another purpose of this symposium, then, is contributing to the further advancement of this discourse.


  • How can we foster conditions across this nation to which growing numbers from all racial backgrounds will be attracted to participate in constructive action on a path toward racial justice?

  • How can we develop language and narratives that welcome and encourage growing numbers of people from all segments of society to embrace the cause of racial justice and play their part, no matter how humble?

  • In our methods and approaches, how can we advance the cause of justice within a framework that recognizes our interconnectedness as noble human actors and thus values diversity and inclusion?

  • How can the moral and spiritual roots of human motivation be translated into concrete expressions of constructive agency and practice?

  • Finally, in light of the preceding questions, what are the distinctive challenges and opportunities of this collective moment in America, and how can it best be seized to reshape social relationships and advance the cause of justice?

PJ Andrews

Shadi Anello

Matt Birkhold

Nanabah Bulman

Charles Chavis

Elizabeth De Souza

Barbara Fields

Jodie Geddes

Ted Johnson

Michael Karlberg

May Lample

Nwandi Lawson

June Manning Thomas

Michael Penn

David Ragland

Erica Reyes

Adam Rothman

Shahrzad Sabet

Billy Silva

Derik Smith

Myrtle Thompson Curtis

Stephen Ward

Sandy White Hawk