Another year has come and gone and a new one just begun.
We completed another circuit around our brilliant Sun.
As we reflect on how we fared this year,
Let’s also pause to consider what each of our relationships to us mean.
There are people that we value for their wisdom and insight,
And others who will stand by us in any righteous fight.
There are those we know through love, through friendship, and through tears,
And those with whom we work or worship or were classmates through the years.
Continue reading Wish for the New Year – Poem by Yvor Stoakley
How Should We Think About the Residents of Barbuda, Florida, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Texas? How should we feel about them?
I live in Wheaton, Illinois, United States of America. The series of natural disasters that have impacted Texas, Mexico, Florida and the Leeward Caribbean islands over the past six weeks have raised some interesting questions about how we think and feel about other human beings.
Continue reading Unplugged, Under Water, or Buried – by Yvor Stoakley
Close your eyes. Imagine that you are the average white American in the early 21st Century. You can visualize yourself as president of your country (or country club). You can see yourself as the object of widespread adulation for winning an Oscar or Olympic gold. You have no difficulty picturing yourself as a graduate of Stanford or Harvard or Duke, as an inventor, as a diplomat or a thousand and one other achievements. But when you focus your mind on your fellow Americans of African or Asian or Native or Latin heritage, what do you imagine then? What images spring to mind?
Continue reading Imagination: Imagine All the People — By Yvor Stoakley
A high school classmate of mine recently posted a notice on a Facebook webpage to which we both subscribe about the passing of her younger brother, Peter. Peter, as it turned out was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. After serving for four years he attended college as a radio broadcast major. He graduated as valedictorian of his class and became involved in the administration of his college alma mater for thirty years, many of those years spent in financial services as the bursar. His sister and his colleagues noted that he always had a special concern for those who had given service to their country in the armed forces. “Peter really felt that it was not just his job or the college’s job,” remarked one of his colleagues in her reflections on his life, “but the job of all of us really, to make sure that veterans are taken care of when they come back.”
Continue reading By All Means, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country! — by Yvor Stoakley
We all have stereotypical images of countries and their populations. We develop these images from our education in schools and universities, from our travels, from our news and sports media, from our literature, increasingly from the internet, and from visual media including film and television. How accurate are these images? How do they change over time? How are they “colored” by our own conditioning and culture?
Continue reading Where have all the Africans gone? – by Yvor Stoakley
On Christmas Day 1938 the head of the Bahá’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, wrote a very important letter to the Bahá’i communities residing in the United States and Canada. (The letter was later published as a book under the title The Advent of Divine Justice.) It was the eve of World War II. The Empire of Japan had already invaded China in July 1937. In March of 1938 Nazi Germany had absorbed Austria into the Third Reich. In September 1938 the Germans forced Czechoslovakia to cede part of its territory to Germany. On November 9, 1938 many German Nazis attacked and destroyed Jewish businesses and synagogues in the pogrom later known as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night). Against this background of world events, Shoghi Effendi wrote this letter.
Continue reading Further Consideration of Racial Prejudice in America — by Yvor Stoakley