Sandra Slobodian will join others for a celebration of unity in honour of the anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah and the encouragement of Reconciliation Canada at the Esquimalt Nation big house on Sunday (Oct. 22). Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria’s Bahá’í building bridges with Songhees and Esquimalt Nations

In the spirit of reconciliation, Bahá’u’lláh’s followers join with local First Nations communities

In light of the state of the world today, Sandra Slobodian thinks we could all use a little time together.

The Victoria woman, a follower of the Bahá’í faith, is gathering with local First Nations for an event she calls A Celebration of the Unity of Mankind. In part, the event will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet to whom the faith is attributed. It is also a nod to recognizing the ongoing efforts of Reconciliation Canada, the Vancouver non-profit revitalizing relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

Bahá’í’s lead by example, Slobodian says, believing in the unity of all people, rejecting ideas like racism or nationalism. “Mankind is one. We already are one,” she explains of her faith. “We just have to accept that, and behave that way.”

This week’s celebration is a partnership with the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations, and will welcome other Indigenous peoples from all over the Island, some as far away as Alert Bay. Solaris Music Group from Cortes Island will be on hand to perform under the roof of the Esquimalt Nation’s big house, where families and friends will gather to sing, and dine and join in the spirit of togetherness.

“The way you reconcile is by being friends,” Slobodian says. “By eating together, by cleaning places together, by laughing together, by raising your children together.”

For the Bahá’í, letting your actions speak louder than your words is paramount. Slobodian connects the idea with a saying she applies to aspects of life, “to walk the spiritual path, with practical feet.”

A Celebration of the Unity of Mankind takes place from 1 to 4 p.m., Oct. 22 at Esquimalt First Nation big house.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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