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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Bahá’í Club at UC Davis hosts Unity Concert

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Headline: Bahá’í Club at UC Davis hosts Unity Concert

Layercake: Event raises awareness of the widespread faith

By CHINTAN DESAI

Aggie News Writer

Emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind, the Bahá’í Faith is the second-most widespread independent world religion and its representatives on campus are making efforts to spread its major tenets locally.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bahá’í Club at UC Davis hosted its Unity Concert on the East Quad, with performers entertaining a collection of students and community members during the lunch hour. The concert included performances from various on-campus organizations, underlying the faith’s commitment to unity.

Founded in 19th-century Persia, the faith holds that religious history has unfolded through a series of progressive revelations, with Bahá’u’lláh, its founder, being the most recent manifestation of God. There are currently 6 million Bahá’ís in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

Major principles of the faith include the oneness of humanity, the equality of men and women, the elimination of prejudices and the independent investigation of the truth.

Matt Chambers, a junior community and regional development major and technology chair for the on-campus club, said he chose to be a Bahá’í in his teens after investigating other religions, including Catholicism and Buddhism. In particular, he noted the faith’s addressing of several social issues, including income inequality and the focus on the individual as a major vehicle for spiritual growth.

What I found in the faith was its focus on something that’s very applicable to the day and age we live in, he said.

Chambers and approximately 45 other club members are working to spread this message through an array of spiritual and social activities open to all those who wish to attend. Currently, there are 9,200 Bahá’ís in the Davis community who have registered with the faith.

Negin Yazdani, a senior sociology major and president of the Bahá’í Club at UC Davis, said she works to spread the word because of her deep personal connection to the faith.

The reason that I go and tell people about the faith is because I feel it is such an amazing thing that I want people to know about [it], she said. I’m not forced to tell anybody.

Specifically, Yazdani noted core exercises conducted by Bahá’ís in Davis provide a method to unite the community. These include children’s virtue classes to assist in the development of youth character, interfaith devotional meetings and Bahá’í scripture study groups, all of which are open to the public.

We think it’s very important that we get a lot of people involved, she said.

Both Chambers and Yazdani said Thursday’s event was an opportunity to raise awareness of the faith and allow students to ask questions of club members.

This year, we wanted it to be something that students from UC Davis could just sit down and watch, especially by having a venue outside, Chambers said.

Performances included a song by The Spokes, an on-campus women’s a cappella group, and cultural dances from both the Hawaii Club and the South Asian Student Organization. In addition, students and club members Roz Fanaieyan, Lily Mills and Alex Vedovi performed a song which interpreted a writing from the Bahá í faith.

By having all these different groups from all these diverse backgrounds representing their art, it just shows you the strength we have on campus, Chambers said.

Meanwhile, the concert succeeded in introducing the faith to several in attendance.

Simone Strunin, a sophomore undeclared-social sciences major, said she had never heard of the Bahá’í Faith before attending the concert.

I think it’s a really interesting faith, she said. It’s not trying to say be this or be that, but it’s trying to incorporate everything.

Brad Schiff, ajunior English major, said he was walking out of the ASUCD Coffee House when he first heard the emcees speaking of the faith.

It doesn’t seem like a huge stretch from what I already believe in, Schiff said, a practicing Catholic. Its message has already felt at home with me.

Bahá’í Club at UC Davis meetings occur Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Colleges at La Rue, apartment 147.

CHINTAN DESAI can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.XXX

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