It was through the Baha'i Faith that I rediscovered the capacity to love myself and, slowly but surely, other black males. It began under the healing influence of the comparison by its Founder, Baha'u'llah, of black people to the pupil of the eye which is "dark in color but a fountain light and the revealer of ... the world." It accelerated through participation in the Baha'i Black Men's Gathering, an international fellowship of brothers assisting each other to apply the teachings of Baha'u'llah to the betterment of themselves and humanity as a whole.
Today, my fear has largely given way to faith, aggression to affection, and judgment to compassion. However, old habits of thought die hard and progress requires persistent and prayerful effort even now. I would be lying if I claimed I did not sometimes have that moment of "wondering" when I encounter a young black male with his hoodie up on a dark Boston street.
My earthly journey has taught me that to successfully battle racial biases in the world, I have to first battle them in myself. I have to be truthful about the fact that, paradoxically, I am Trayvon Martin and yet sometimes I am George Zimmerman as well. At least in my mind. As Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921), Head of the Baha'i Faith from 1892 to 1921, reminds me:
"Truthfulness is the foundation of all the virtues of the world of humanity. Without truthfulness, progress and success in all of the worlds of God are impossible for a soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also become realized."