By: Shahram (Shez) Partovi, PV Resident
Jan 26, 2016
The journey towards race unity may not be simple, yet it is among the most profound and meaningful charges of our civilization. If each of us contributed to that journey in some manner, we would transform our communities and our nation. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior committed his life to service in this path, and along the way inspired a whole generation to continue his legacy.
Each year the Town of Paradise Valley and its Baha’i Community work collaboratively to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, and this year was the 19th consecutive community celebration on MLK-day at the Town Hall. The pinnacle of the event is the recognition of an individual who demonstrates the qualities reflective of Dr. King’s vision. This year, Dean Shirley Mays was recognized for her community service and received the Town’s Diversity Award. In her keynote speech, she reflected upon how living the path of service started at home, with her 9 year old grandson. Leading by example was her path to living the legacy of Dr. King.
In that same theme, the customary MLK-day Essay Competition leading up to the event challenged junior youth to write about how they were “Leading by Example” in their communities. The winners offered moving personal testimonials that drew awe from the audience. The three winners were Milan Sewell (grade 5), Alexander Ashman (grade 6), and Arthi Macheria (grade 8). Each student received their award certificates from Mayor Michael Collins, and their thought providing writing gave the audience hope that the Digital Natives are forging ahead with even greater fervor and zeal towards racial harmony.
The Baha’i Community of Paradise Valley has been sponsoring this event for the past 19 years because one of the foundational principles of the Baha’i Faith is the elimination of prejudice and race unity. The Baha’i Community continues a monthly series on Healing Racism after the Martin Luther King celebration (www.paradisevalleyMLK.org).
As a PV resident and community member, I was fortunate to have a small part in the event. Ultimately, leading by example for my three teenage kids means doing something – no matter how small, and not just on MLK-day. The 2016 Paradise Valley Martin Luther King Day celebration was simply nothing short of electric, and a testimony to the progressive vision at the Town of Paradise Valley.