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Unit Convention 2017

2017 Unit Convention is FAST approaching and we are excited to share with you details of this important event.  Please share this at Feast tonight as well as in your newsletters as well as in your shared calendars as well as with personal calls to every member of your community.

September 30, 2017
The Darragh Center Auditorium
Inside of the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Main Library building
Located at 100 Rock St in Little Rock, 72201

Registration will take place at 12:30 – 1:00 PM
The Program will begin at 1:00 PM
The day will end at 5 PM

 Download the Map, Directions, list of Hotels, list of Restaurants

In preparation for the 2017 Unit Convention please review the new boundaries.  Your ballot and election call from the National Spiritual Assembly will be arriving shortly.  Please look over the following:

Baha’i ID Card:

Please bring your Baha’i ID card (We will use alternative verification methods if needed) {Baha’i Only Event}

Ballots:

Please bring your ballot with you (If you have misplaced it, we will provide one at the convention)

Bookstore:

There will be a bookstore open during breaks and before and after the convention.

Children and Junior Youth Programs:

We are seeking assistance in locating a children’s class teacher and Junior Youth mentor to care for those attending.  If you have young people who are planning to attend please let us know ASAP so that we may properly prepare the materials and create a wonderful environment for them. {Children over 3 years and JY under 15 years}

Food:

This year only snack food and beverages will be available during the convention.  A list of nearby (walking distance) restaurants will be provided for you to enjoy lunch and/or dinner on your own in Little Rock.

Hospitality:

If you would like to have hospitality for either Friday or Saturday night please contact the North Little Rock LSA Secretary at 501-747 2366.  There are several hotels and motels near the event, if that is your preference.

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Paint the Change

Not A Crime

Not A Crime

Paint The Change Art Gallery

Hillcrest Harvest Fest 2015 to view the Paint the Change Art Gallery. The Gallery features artwork from local students at 11 Little Rock schools. The students drew inspiration for their art from the Paint the Change Campaign street art and information found on http://www.notacrime.me/.

Below you will find campaign links where you find out how to get involved, some excerpts about the campaign and a list of participating schools.

http://www.notacrime.me/
https://www.facebook.com/educationisnotacrime 
https://twitter.com/eduisnotacrime
https://instagram.com/notacrimecampaign/ 

“The Baha’is are Iran’s largest religious minority. But Iran’s government has persecuted them since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Businesses are torched, people are fired from their jobs, thousands are harassed and jailed, and hundreds have been killed.

The government also bans the Baha’is from teaching and studying in Iranian universities. But they do teach and they do study – in secret.”

“We started a campaign to fight this injustice. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Shirin Ebadi – both Nobel Peace Prize laureates – are two of our biggest supporters.

Hollywood stars like Mark Ruffalo, Rainn Wilson, Nazanin Boniadi, Justin Baldoni and Omid Djalili have endorsed the campaign. And in February 2015 we had a spectacular concert in Los Angeles featuring pop star Andy Grammer for a thousand people to stand up for human rights in Iran.”

“More than 50 journalists are in prison in Iran today. Hundreds of reporters, editors, photographers, bloggers and citizen journalists also suffer from routine harassment, surveillance and censorship.”

Participating Schools

  • Elementary Schools
    • Geyer Springs
    • Baseline
    • ESTEM
  • Middle Schools
    • Pulaski Heights
    • Henderson
    • ESTEM
  • High Schools
    • Central
    • J.A. Fair
    • McClellan
    • Parkview
    • Pulaski Academy
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To Light A Candle

Not A Crime

Not A Crime

Little Rock — On February 27th, local citizens will join in the launch of the international “Education is Not a Crime” campaign, with a screening of Maziar Bahari’s new documentary film, To Light a Candle to be held at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The screening is sponsored by the Baha’i community of Central Arkansas, in collaboration with Just Communities of Arkansas. The film chronicles the persecution of Iran’s Baha’is, and the development of their underground university The Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE).

These grassroots screenings are part of Education Is Not a Crime Day: February 27, 2015. The campaign website, educationisnotacrime.me, will feature voices of support from citizens around the world, and will tell a comprehensive story of the Baha’is in Iran, a religious minority that has overcome severe persecution to build solidarity, fortitude and hope among its people through its passion for education.

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Baha’i community has been the target of systematic state-sponsored repression. Forbidden from attending or teaching at universities, the community established the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education in 1987. Through BIHE, the community has championed equality and non-violence, garnering support from educators around the world. Yet, its students and teachers still face enormous obstacles: classes are held in people’s homes and the threat of arrest is part of daily life.

The film and campaign are aimed at exposing social injustice and religious intolerance through personal stories and rare footage – often smuggled out of Iran at great personal risk. Education Is Not a Crime is a powerful statement – not only about the spirit and determination of the Baha’is of Iran, but also about the vital role of education in building communities and sustaining hope.

The Little Rock screening of To Light a Candle will be held at 7:00 p.m., at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue in Little Rock. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion which will include Ravand Samaeekia and Fahime Mehrabkhani, former students and graduates of BIHE, Dr. Sohrab Kourosh, an interfaith religious scholar and author, and Dr. Thomas Bruce, Inaugural Dean of Clinton School of Public Service.

Find the event on Facebook

#EducationIsNotACrime

 

 

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Yárán – 6 Years of Unjust Imprisonment

Bahai Faith 9 Pointed Star

May 14th will mark the 6th year since seven former Bahá’í leaders known as the Yárán-i-Iran (Friends of Iran) were unjustly imprisoned.  These 5 men and 2 women have been condemned to 20 years imprisonment, the longest period of incarceration of any prisoners of conscience in their country.

YaranThe Yárán were charged with  espionage, propaganda against the Islamic republic, the establishment of an illegal administration, all of which were rejected completely and categorically by the defendants.

The crime they are really charged with is nothing more than this, being members of the Bahá’í Faith, a religion which has been the focus of a systematic, government-sponsored persecution in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

 

The steep rise in the number of Bahá’ís imprisoned from about 115 to 136 in the last quarter of 2013 speaks to the Iranian regime’s refusal to uphold its campaign promises of its new president to safeguard the human rights of all Iranian citizens.

Through unwavering efforts, on December 20 last year, the Senate, by unanimous consent, passed Senate Resolution 75 (S.Res.75)—which had won the backing of 35 bipartisan sponsors. Similar efforts are underway to increase the number of cosponsors of House Resolution 109 (H.Res.109) from its current 91 cosponsors to approximately 150 before it is put to a vote later this year. These resolutions detail and condemn the “state-sponsored persecution” of Iran’s Bahá’ís. They also call for the release of all prisoners held solely on account of their religious beliefs and express the desire of the Congress that the President and Secretary of State demand their release as well as hold accountable—pursuant to existing legislation—the officials responsible for these glaring violations of human rights.

From the tireless perseverance and hard work of Bahá’ís in Arkansas, Congressional Representative, Tom Cotton, has co-sponsored House Resolution 109. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all the cosponsors of House Resolution 109, as the number of cosponsors will be seen by the Iranian regime as proof the resolution has strong support

To learn more about the Yárán and the persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran, please visit Bahá’í World News Service

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Luminous Journey: Abdu’l-Baha in America, 1912

Film Chronicling ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Journey to North America Shown at Little Rock Theater

On November 29, 2013 the film “Luminous Journey: Abdu’l-Baha in America, 1912” was shown at the Market Street Theater in West Little Rock. The film recounts the historic visit of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the son of the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, to America in 1912. It chronicles the 239-day visit of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the United States and Canada. During this historic journey, ‘Abdu’l-Baha delivered His Father’s message of universal peace, unity between the East and the West, racial harmony, gender equality, and offered a vision of the United States as a powerful ethical and spiritual nation.

luminous‘Abdu’l-Baha encountered thousands of people while traveling, mostly by train, from coast to coast, attracting the notice of the press and imbuing America with a new sense of its spiritual destiny.

His public talks captivated all strata of American society, and ‘Abdu’l-Baha met with a variety of leaders of the day, including inventor Alexander Graham Bell, explorer Admiral Peary, author W.E.B. Dubois, and peace advocate Jane Addams. The film captures the feel of the era through archival photographs and film clips, colorful historic reenactments, animations and a lush original orchestrated soundtrack.

In addition to seeing the film in selected theaters around the country, it is also available for home viewing. Learn more at www.luminousjourney.org.

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Great North Little Rock Clean-up 2013

Bahai Faith 9 Pointed Star

nlrclean2Over the weekend the North Little Rock Baha’i community participated in the annual “Great North Little Rock Clean-up,” part of the City of North Little Rock’s beautification initiative. The Baha’i group cleaned the nature trail behind the old YMCA facility by picking up trash and debris.

The Great North Little Rock Clean-Up is a special one-day community event designed to encourage residents to join in a litter clean-up of neighborhoods and city streets, parks, trails, and river banks. The event draws families, youth groups, businesses, churches, community groups, and civic clubs, and it is designed to clean up the city, to educate young and old about the environment, to promote recycling, city beautification, concern for the environment, energy efficiency, and a multitude of other reasons to Keep North Little Rock Beautiful.

nlrclean1At the very heart of the Bahá’í view of the relationship between humanity and the natural universe is the belief that all of creation is an expression of the many names and attributes of an all-powerful God. Baha’u’llah identifies “the very earth which is trodden beneath the feet of all men” as “the thing which is the source of his prosperity, his wealth, his might, his exaltation, his advancement and power,” and encourages His followers to be good stewards of the planet and its resources.

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Yaran: Persecution of Baha’is in Iran

yaran2

For five years, seven Baha’i leaders (known as the Yaran) have been wrongly imprisoned in Iran.

Their 20-year sentences are the longest given to any current prisoners of conscience in Iran. Their harshness reflects the Government’s resolve to oppress completely the Iranian Baha’i community, which faces a systematic, “cradle-to-grave” persecution that is among the most serious examples of state-sponsored religious persecution in the world today.

Their story is similar to what is happening to the roughly 100 other Baha’is now in prison in Iran that have been incarcerated for simply exercising their internationally recognized human rights.

Yaran

The Central Arkansas Baha’i community is participating in an international campaign to seek the immediate release of the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders by holding a gathering at the Little Rock Baha’i Center on May 14th, 2013 at 7:00 PM, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the imprisonment of the leaders. We invite you to join us to learn about these courageous individuals and ways that you can urge the Iranian Government to live up to its international human rights obligations.
To learn more about the Yaran and the persecution of Baha’is in Iran, visit http://www.bic.org/fiveyears/.

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Ridvan Camping Trip 2013

Ridvan Camping Trip 2013Members of five different Baha’i communities in Central Arkansas came together for a camping trip at Lake Sylvia in the Ouachita National Forest over the weekend of April 27-28, commemorating the Ninth Day of Ridvan holy day. The Festival of Ridvan was designated by Baha’u’llah as the “King of Festivals,” marking not only the twelve days when Baha’u’llah began His sojourn from Baghdad to Constantinople but also the time during which He announced His station as a Messenger of God.

Despite the constant threat of rain community members enjoyed a hike at the historic Camp Ouachita, a Girl Scouts camp built between 1936 and 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Saturday was capped off with a cookout and everyone’s camping favorite: s’mores.

Ridvan Camping Trip 2013 2On Sunday, the campers and guests observed the Ninth Day of Ridvan with a small program that highlighted the significance of the holy day. The Festival of Ridvan is named after the Garden of Ridvan, an island-garden in the Tigris River in Baghdad on which Baha’u’llah was encamped for twelve days prior to His departure for Constantinople. Baha’is observe the first, ninth and twelfth days of the festival as they signify the day of Baha’u’llah’s arrival on the island, the day his family joined Him, and the day of His departure.

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Race Unity Day Celebration

raceunitydayGathered with friends, the Greater Little Rock Baha’i community celebrated Race Unity Day at Burns Park in North Little Rock with a Sunday picnic dedicated to love and unity between all the world’s races.

Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, implored people to “close your eyes to racial differences and welcome all with the light of oneness.” To that end, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States inaugurated Race Unity Day in 1957 to promote racial harmony and understanding.

The purpose of Race Unity Day is to focus attention on racial prejudice, which Baha’is believe is the most challenging moral issue facing our nation. Writing in the mid-1800s, Baha’u’llah stated unequivocally that humanity is a single race and called on the world to recognize the principle of human oneness in all spheres of life.

Worldwide, Baha’is have sought to build a model of racial integration by embracing people from all races, backgrounds and classes of society. Since its inception, the Greater Little Rock Baha’i community has held Race Unity Day celebrations in addition to its other work to address racial prejudices, including “Healing Racism” workshops.

To learn more about Race Unity Day and the Baha’i community’s work to eliminate racial prejudice, visit http://www.bahai.us/social-action/race-unity/.

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Festival of Ridvan

The Greater Little Rock Bahá’í Community celebrated The Festival of Ridván on April 21st & 29th and May 2nd. Although the festival is twelve days long, observances are held on the first, ninth and twelfth days to commemorate the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh at the Garden of Ridván in Baghdad, His pronouncement that He was the Promised One and a new Manifestation of God, and His subsequent departure from Baghdad to Constantinople (now Istanbul). The event is significant for Bahá’ís as it marks the beginning of the Bahá’í Faith in 1863.

The local observances were kicked off with a garden party at the Little Rock Bahá’í Center. Balloons and a front yard in full bloom helped create a festive atmosphere, while the music, singing and readings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh underscored the significance of the event for attendees from across the Greater Little Rock region, including Conway, Beebe and Maumelle.

The ninth day of Ridván was celebrated in downtown Little Rock at the historic and recently restored home of a Bahá’í family. Attendees were treated to tours of the historic home and its grounds, which featured an urban agriculture project with bee hives, chickens and a garden. The program itself was held beneath a large garden tent and gazebo. The Bahá’í community’s children provided a song, and further music, singing and readings contributed to a spirit of unity and love for all.

The final event was a community brunch where the Bahá’í community and its guests enjoyed one another’s fellowship and commemorated the departure of Bahá’u’lláh for Constantinople on May 2, 1863.