Yellow Springs Baha’is In The News

Talks by Yellow Springs Baha’is | Baha’i Junior Youth FaceBook 2012-2016

Yellow Springs News

2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Day | ‘The fierce urgency of now’ January 23, 2023 Villagers Elaine and Keith Kresge were presented with the annual Peacemaker award for their community service to the village. The Kresges, married for 54 years, “like to work together,” said Elaine Kresge. The couple also thanked the community “for giving them so many opportunities to be of service.” According to their bio, the couple has been involved with many community organizations and programs including their participation in Courageous Conversations and “Speaking up for Justice” events, The 365 Project Juneteenth celebrations, volunteering for the Wheeling Gaunt Sculpture project dedication and their work with the Yellow Springs branch of the public library, designing and installing a Little Free Library at Gaunt Park. Environmentally minded, the Kresges also volunteer with Tecumseh Land Trust, Agraria and Glen Helen.

Racial justice, one book at a time – September 1, 2922 – A new Little Free Library is on track to be installed at Gaunt Park this month, and the library will be filled with books themed around social and racial justice. YS Community Library Youth Librarian Nacim Sajabi, who initiated the idea of the library, …Kids were asked to vote on ideas for designs. One of the ideas with the most votes — a structure surrounded by pieces of art — was presented to local designer and artist Keith Kresge… All of the time and labor to bring the project to fruition was donated by Mader and Keith and Elaine Kresge. “We’re all [part of the Bahá’í Faith], and to be a servant is the highest calling,” he said. “So for the three of us, the idea of service is a spiritual endeavor — and [Sajabi] is my kid, and I love what she’s doing at the library.”

At the Speaking Up for Justice rally on Saturday, Aug. 29, co-organizer Bomani Moyenda introduced the audience to the new group of youth organizers, from left, Sophia Lawson, Saelah Gisslen, Arielle Johnson, Sophia Gisslen and Ezra Lydy…Saturday’s rally focused on Black history…Another rally is set for Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (Photo by Kathleen Galarza)

A path to progress on race? – November 9, 2020 For 14 straight weeks, a group of mostly Black local youth organizers have challenged villagers to see their role in perpetuating racist policies and commit to personal and political action. During the weekly marches that followed, together they have raised their voices and shut down traffic to keep attention on ongoing police brutality across the country against Black people and to affirm that Black lives do, indeed, matter… Photo: Sophia Lawson & Arielle Johnson But why is it so difficult for white people to see, talk about and understand racism? It’s a complicated topic, and one explored in several recent books, including “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo, a book at the center of a new discussion group at the Yellow Springs Library led by Nacim Sajabi.

‘Empower Black Women’ — Hear speeches from weekend rally- June 20, 2020 – showing support for anti-racist action in the community and the nation at large. Speakers and performers have addressed the assembled crowd with messages of solidarity and urging action. Dedicated to Juneteenth and celebration of Black artists. “Speaking Up for Justice” rallies – Aurelia Blake [quotes ‘Abdu’l-Baha in her speech.] |YSHS student Arielle Johnson

News reporter Lauren Heaton dies August 1, 2019 – died July 28. [Friend of the Faith and wife of Kirk Weigand.] – Heaton distinguished herself as a serious journalist with a healthy skepticism, tempered with a great sense of humor. Her discipline in striving for equanimity was a model to those with whom she worked. Above all, Heaton’s work was motivated by a her love for her hometown and a desire to see her community thrive.

Ghamar Tabibian Behjati 98, of Yellow Springs, – July 11, 2019, ascended into the next station of life on July 5, 2019. Born in Tuyserkan, Iran. In addition to Farsi, she was a self-taught speaker of Hebrew, English and Arabic. An avid reader, she memorized and recited volumes worth of poems and prayers.

Influential Women of Yellow Springs, Spring, 2019Two Baha’is were featured: Aurelia Blake, Community Activist submitted by Sam Foster & Linden Qualls, Spiritual Educator, submitted by Arielle Johnson In October, 2018, 59 Yellow Springs High School students set out on a project for their United States History class to document influential women of Yellow Springs. The project focused on local women who might have been overlooked or underappreciated, and timed to coincide with Women’s History Month in March 2019. With a partner, students wrote a short essay about each woman’s accomplishments, and how her story connected with other narratives of women throughout American history. The Yellow Springs News helped edit and design this publication to share the women’s stories far beyond school grounds, thanks in large part to a grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation.

Nacim Sabaji, left, was the organizing force behind a celebration of the traditional Persian holiday Nowruz on Saturday evening, March 25, 2017 at the Presbyterian Church. About 150 people, including many from the area’s Iranian-American community and the local Baha’i membership, ate traditional Persian foods, learned about the secular holiday’s customs and closed out the fete with dancing. The joyful gathering stood as a testament against negative depictions of people from Iran as well as travel ban efforts that include Iran among the targeted countries. (Photos by Carol Simmons)

Doris Frances Blake April 26, 2018 – Doris Frances Blake [Friend of the Faith, Mother of Aurelia Blake] winged her flight to the other worlds of God, on the First Day of Ridván, April 21, at 5 p.m. The memorial service was held on Wednesday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Bahá’í Center.

Philip Harold Dawson 68, of Yellow Springs, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 26, 2017. He was born on Dec. 8, 1948…Philip was a member of the Bahá’í faith since he was 21 years old.

Celebrating Persia’s new year April 6, 2017 The joy of family, the joy of community, the joy of spring all filled the social hall at First Presbyterian Church last Saturday as nearly 150 people of all ages gathered to celebrate the Persian holiday of Nowruz…“Naw-Ruz” is how many Bahá’í Faith practitioners spell it, according to Nacim Sajabi, villager and the organizer of Saturday’s event, noting that an annual observance of the holiday has been part of the local Bahá’í community’s calendar for many years.

Aurelia Blake retires— Power of the pen, and of the heart June 2, 2016 – For 16 years, language arts teacher Aurelia Blake has been a tough and tender champion for local middle school students and their writing…By all accounts, Blake has made a difference in hundreds of students’ lives. According to Principal Tim Krier…“She’s creative as all get-out and an advocate for all kids,” he said.

Japanese culture in bloom in Yellow Springs April 28, 2016 – “There are all these Japanese connections in town,” she said recently. “And so the workshop quickly became a symposium.” Organizers include Bridgeman, Jackie Mulhall and YSAC staff Nancy Mellon, Holly Underwood and Lara Bauer. [The Baha’i Center provided Japanese art activities for families. Many people came and stayed a long while as they loved our space and didn’t want to leave. Link to photos coming soon] Lauren Heaton, third-generation Japanese American, and Jackie Mulhall [former Baha’i pioneer to Japan] are also featured in this second article A Japanese aesthetic in Ohayo, 2nd annual in Yellow Springs

Designing, down to the roots February 4, 2016 A local garden, planted with native species; an international contest; a part-time resident with coastal ties; a local garden designer with far-flung roots. These are the appropriately disparate elements of a gardening practice, and a life, that have come together for villager Nadia Malarkey with the recent news that one of the Yellow Springs gardens she designed has been short-listed for a prestigious award from the Society of Garden Designers, or SGD, a UK-based organization. Malarkey titled her submission “Regenerating Suburbia,” which is exactly what she believes a well-crafted native garden can do — bring about ecological and spiritual renewal.

Suheil Badi’ Bushuri September 10, 2015 Dr. Suheil Badi’ Bushrui, local resident, distinguished scholar and tireless champion of the cause of peace, passed away on Sept. 2 at the age of 85…Professor Bushrui became the first incumbent of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland in 1992, a position he held until his retirement from the post in 2005 and from which he sponsored events and publications that advocated alternatives to the violent resolution of conflict, global education and spiritual solutions for otherwise intractable social ills.

Bahá’í camp immersed in virtues August 2015, Ursula Kremer, left, a Youth Helper at this summer’s Bahá’í day camp, leads a group of campers in a game called “The Knot,” in which children must untangle themselves without breaking hands. The game enacts the virtues of happiness and unity.

Bahá’í camp immersed in virtues August 13, 2015 by Audrey Hackett – That’s the big picture of the Virtues Day Camp, centered on the principles, or virtues, that animate the Bahá’í faith Qualls and her husband, Roi, have practiced for many years. “Bahá’ís believe that the education of the individual soul has a profound effect on everyone around that soul,” said Qualls. “We believe that you can change the world through education of the human heart.”

AUM Classics retires with Malarkey August 13, 2015 The walking and talking, reading and writing, playing and bandying that has gone on in Jim Malarkey’s courses at Antioch College and Antioch University over the past 30 years is not typical of a college humanities curriculum. But then Malarkey didn’t design the program to be typical. He wanted to deliver an education that would stop people in their tracks, give them a good shake-up, and have them question everything they had assumed about the world and their place in it. According to local resident Hannah DeLamatre, who graduated in 2015, the curriculum taught her to listen deeply, think critically, and embrace the lifelong opportunity to keep exploring old and new ways of living. “Humanities is life. Jim Malarkey has created a glorious ode to life and has inspired countless [students] to go out and create for ourselves and for each other a life worth living and writing about.

Film argues that education is a right – March 5, 2015 For Taylor Spratt, an Antioch College student who grew up between Milwaukee and the Chicago suburbs, a college education was a given. But for her contemporaries who live in Iran and adhere to the Bahá’í Faith, attending Iranian university is prohibited by law. To Spratt, education is a basic right, and forbidding anyone from pursuing knowledge for any reason is not only harmful to society but counter to the whole idea of humanity…According to Roi Qualls, who will moderate the post-film [To Light a Candle] discussion, the BIHE [Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education using teachers around the world to educate Bahá’í students in Iran in online and clandestine classrooms around the country.] is a heroic response to a senseless system of governance.

Bahá’ís to screen talk by author of ‘The New Jim Crow’ April 17, 2013 by Lauren Heaton

Michelle Alexander, civil rights law professor at OSU, recently spoke at the University of Dayton to tell people about the web of social control that has been woven to replace the Jim Crow laws… Among the salient features of this new control system are:

• Criminalizing “black” drug behavior differently than “white” drug behavior • Draconian prison penalties for even minor “black” drug crimes • Unbridled power wielded by prosecutors to coax guilty pleas • Intense policing of poor black and brown neighborhoods • Steady erosion of fourth amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure by the U.S. Supreme Court • Creating a prison-industrial complex as a for-profit business enterprise to invest in so that our nation now has a profit motive for large volume of drug arrests • Co-opting local and state law enforcement with grant money to enforce the new drug laws so that they have a profit motive to find as many drug offenders as possible.

It is a call to all of us to work for racial justice as a matter of human rights, not just civil rights. And it calls for a new movement, for us to raise basic questions about our society.

Yellow Springs native Michael Malarkey has hit the big time playing Elvis Presley in London’s West End theater district, in the hit show “Million Dollar Quartet.” He’s shown visiting at the home of his parents, Jim and Nadia Malarkey. (Photo:Lauren Heaton) Dec. 2011 See:From ‘Vampire Diaries’ to ‘Blue Book’ 2019

Movie Night Fundraiser June 19, 2013 The Yellow Springs Bahá’í junior youth group will host an outdoor screening of the film The Princess Bride on Saturday, June 22, as a fundraiser for the Senior Center.

Malarkey’s a star on London’s West End December 8, 2011 by Lauren Heaton According to former Yellow Springs resident Michael Malarkey, no matter how much acclaim he has received before, no actor is ever guaranteed to work again. That goes for those who have hit the big time, as one might say of Malarkey, who has spent the year playing Elvis Presley in the West End production of “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Noel Coward Theatre in London…“I’ve never been in a show that demands so much discipline,” he said of both the singing and the show’s physical energy…Malarkey’s brothers Daniel and Kevin are in the acting and filmmaking business too, which means their parents, Nadia and Jim Malarkey, must have similar faith in the fruits of hard work, persistence and change. [see also: YS native plays Elvis on British Broadway – March 16, 2011, Village vampire taps a wicked vein -July 10, 2014 & From ‘Vampire Diaries’ to ‘Blue Book’ — YSHS alum Malarkey’s new role – January 10, 2019]

YS Bahá’ís back those in Iran February 10, 2011 – Growing up in Iran in the 1950s and ’60s, local resident Farzaneh (Behjati) Mader experienced some discrimination based on her adherence to the Bahá’í faith. Many Iranian Muslims thought of themselves as superior and did not like to associate with her family members, who as Bahá’ís, were considered “unclean.” But the politics at the time took a drastic change for the worse when in 1979 the Shah was overthrown to make way for an Islamic state led by an ayatollah, or most holy leader. The Iranian Revolution had changed the country beyond recognition, especially for the Behjatis… Bahá’ís are the largest religious minority in Iran, with 350,000 adherents, and yet they are perceived as such a threat that they are persecuted the most brutally, said [Roi]Qualls, who in 2009 co-led with local resident Eli Mulhall, a group of Bahá’í youth on a cross country bicycle trip to spread awareness of the issue in Iran.

AUM to hold forum to aid understanding September 23, 2010 , [Jim]Malarkey has organized an opportunity for villagers to learn more about issues facing Muslim-Americans. The event, a free public forum called “Muslims in America and the Principle of Religious Freedom,”“I want people who come to get a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the dilemmas faced by Muslims in America,” [Marlarkey] said. These experiences left their mark on Malarkey, who is now a Bahá’í, a religion that advocates “addressing problems through nonviolence and dialogue,” he said.

Passive House is an active goal May 20, 2010 – Andrew Kline [Friend of the Faith, married to Anisa who is also his business partner along with his father-in-law, Roi Qualls] is already the youngest builder in Yellow Springs. But the 29-year-old general contractor also wants to be the greenest. With his newly formed company, Green Generation Building, and the construction of his first energy-efficient home nearing completion, Kline is well on his way to establishing himself as a green builder. “Antioch was the pivotable moment where I realized what’s happening in the world with respect to the environment,” Kline said. “That’s where I got the idea to mix an environmental ethic with our construction practices, to fuse an environmental consciousness with real-world, tangible, practical things that we use every day, like buildings.”… Andrew gives a tour of the first passive solar house built in Ohio [Andrew’s first passive solar house is located across the street from the Baha’i Center on Dayton Street.]

Some of the Bah‡a’is of Yellow Springs gathered in the Malarkey’s home last week. Left to right, front row: Cyprian Sajabi, Chrisian Elam, Lucas Mulhall, Reese Elam, Ursula Kremer, Nadia Mulhall, Greta Kremer. Second row: Nacim Sajabi, Jim Malarkey, Shane Elam, Eli Mulhall. Third row: Nadia Malarkey, Kim Kremer, Miracle Elam, Jackie Mulhall. Back row: Kevin Mulhall, Kevin Malarkey, David Mader. March 2007

Iran turmoil hits home for some – July 2, 2009 – When Nacim Sajabi had her first child several years ago, she surprised herself by speaking to her baby in Farsi, the language of Iran, her mother’s homeland…The Bahá’í religion colors many aspects of the lives of Nacim Sajabi, her mother, Farzanah Mader, and her aunt, Farideh Tahririha, who with her daughter, Mahshad, has recently moved to Yellow Springs. The three women explained that Bahá’ís are taught not to be involved in partisan politics, because the unity of all people is a basic tenet of their religion. Consequently, they did not discuss their response to recent Iranian events in terms of their political preferences…However, they care deeply about human rights, especially since the Bahá’ís have been persecuted by the Iranian governments since the religion began in 1844.

A growing, vibrant time for Bahá’ís of Yellow Springs March 1, 2007 by Lauren Heaton – The Yellow Springs Bahá’í community includes 22 adults and 16 children, each of whom plays an active role in unifying their Bahá’í community here and reaching out to others in the village, across the nation and around the world in pursuit of the oneness of humanity. For the Bahá’ís of Yellow Springs, it isn’t a church or a minister that stands at the center of their faith, but a fire burning in their hearts that propels them toward that goal. (see photo on right)

Children learn they can be superheroes January 15, 2003 by Lauren Heaton – While some children are busy getting their moral fiber from superheroes on TV and in video games, others are learning how to become superheroes themselves to make the world better. Tucked away in a cluster of houses off of Green Street, 35 local and area youth convene every other weekend for Bahá’í community children’s classes, where they experience how one’s daily actions can change the world. “Strive that your actions may be like beautiful prayers,” [Jackie] Mulhall told the students, taking a passage from the Bahá’í holy writings. Meanwhile, next door at the house of Bahá’í teacher Linden Qualls, children in the older group of 6- to 12-years-olds were exploring some of the virtues of the Bahá’í Faith through group storytelling.