| Program: || Putting Race Unity Into Practice, Evanston, IL |
| Contact(s): || Lorelei McClure, Public Information Officer: (847) 733-3469 |
| Purpose: || To consistently support the efforts of Chicago high schools to create a climate of unity within their campuses |
In 1997, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of the United States began plans to initiate and sponsor forums where Chicago and suburban high school students, teachers, and administrators would discuss their unifying practices in school and community. The forums would acknowledge students as models of effective race-unity leadership, provide a platform for sharing successful efforts and explore solutions for specific concerns. The first Putting Race Unity Into Practice (PRUIP) forum took place in 1997, and one half-day forum will take place in October, February and May annually.
The beginning of the PRUIP forum consists of the introduction of new participating schools. After introductions, there is a discussion on a race-unity issues. Time is next spent generating the forum topic and interim activities. At the end of the forum, refreshments are served, and time is provided for fellowship and further informal planning and discussion. The students are the primary agents for determining agenda discussion topics and activities. The National Spiritual Assembly provides the site, and, in cooperation with each school, selected administrators and teachers provide guidance and support for further discussions and outcomes. The public is encouraged to attend and participate. To recruit additional schools and engage in projects that involve all participants, several activities are in process. For example, each school is making a quilt block illustrating racial unity that will be displayed in museums, schools, places of worship, and at events. Also, the PRUIP is assisting with and participating in the Chicago area's Annual Walk for Race Unity, where the PRUIP quilt will first be displayed, in 1998.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
In less than a year, Putting Race Unity Into Practice has grown to involve approximately 200 participants in 12 schools--public, private and parochial. As a result of PRUIP, participants have engaged in school exchanges, particularly between city and suburban schools, where they call, write and visit each other's respective community. The discovery most mentioned by participants in these exchanges is how much they have in common. PRUIP has been highlighted in The Chicago Tribune, The Evanston Review, as well as on ABC television. The Chicago Tribune posted conversations from PRUIP's forum on its Website and invited visitors to comment on PRUIP's efforts.