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September Project Center gathering will showcase local race unity and social justice initiatives

Aug 31, 2022
Slide from devotional program featuring a shrine with flowers, candles, and a piece of paper handwritten with the names of the 10 African Americans who were killed in the mass shooting which occurred on May 12, 2022, in Buffalo, New York, at a Tops Friendly Markets supermarket

Photo: Slide from May 2022 Project Center Gathering devotional program, commemorating the ten African Americans who were killed in a mass shooting on 5/12/22 in Buffalo, New York, at a Tops Friendly Markets supermarket.

The Wilmette Institute invites you to attend its third Project Center Gathering on Sunday, September 25 at 4 pm Eastern Time. This Zoom meeting is open to all, and will feature presentations from the organizers of 3 or 4 local projects. After the presentations, attendees will be invited to join Zoom breakout rooms for more intimate interaction with the project teams.

Register on Zoom for September 25 Gathering. We will send reminders nearer the time. If you are Bahá’í, please consider which friends of all religious or spiritual backgrounds you might invite to attend with you. Like the Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. and Building a Unified Society course, the gathering is open to all. 

About the Project Center

The Project Center is an evolving collaborative resource where participants who have taken the Wilmette Institute course, ‘Anti-Black Racism in the US and Building a Unified Society,’ can continue supporting each other and learning about meaningful action to uphold racial justice and race unity. It is a space to build relationships and reflect on Bahá’u’lláh’s central principle of the oneness of humanity and “its demanding implications for the profound alteration of thought and action required at this time.” (Ref:  Universal House of Justice, To the Baha’is of the United States of America, 22 July 2020.)

The Project Center’s planning team is led by Jeanais Brodie, WI Adjunct Faculty serving on the faculty team for Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. and Building a Unified Society. Other valued members of the team include Naree Chan, Renee Depew, Eleanor Mitten, Derrick Stone, and Nicola Daniels.

The deadline for submitting a presentation proposal to the Project Center is Monday, September 5. If you are involved in planning local initiatives with race unity or social justice objectives, you may submit proposals by filling out this online Project Center Presentation form.

Video from 2nd Project Center Gathering
Part 1: Devotions and Introduction to Four Projects



Derrick Stone

Derrick Stone grew up in a Bahá’í  family in Oregon. He currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and two teenage sons. Derrick is the Director of Software Development at the University of Virginia Health System, and teaches  programming courses for the Computer Science department.


Nicola Daniels

Nicola (Niki) Daniels is the Wilmette Institute's Registrar and Student Services Specialist. She previously served as a member of the Wilmette Institute Board, and as a faculty member of the Institute's course on Science and Religion, a role she misses dearly. Niki has been an instructor for the WI course on Anti-Black Racism since it started in 2018. She says "I get a thrill from using my creative and (mostly self-taught) computer skills to create instructional materials."


Jeanais Brodie, MA


I am a native New Yorker, raised in Bedford–Stuyvesant, (a.k.a. Bed–Stuy) Brooklyn and the South Bronx. I have lived a significant number of years in New England and various parts of California. My undergraduate degree focused on Ed Philosophy & Theory, and Multicultural Education. Graduate studies were in Public Administration and Leadership; and Adult Education with focuses on Program Planning & Development. My professional career as an administrator and instructor was primarily spent in colleges and universities, both public and private, on both the east and west coast, ending in Arizona, where I am currently retired. I continue to use my professional skills as a consultant providing coaching and mentoring. My community activities have been geared towards programming in Race Unity and Racism Awareness, youth leadership and empowerment, affordable housing, and early childhood education. I am active in my Bahá’í community serving on my Local Spiritual Assembly. Pre-COVID-19, I enjoyed traveling and sharing home-cooked meals with extended family and friends. Favorite places, anywhere with large bodies of water, New England autumn foliage, and awe-inspiring scenery!See Faculty Bio


Naree Chan, JD

Public Law Attorney

I have been fortunate to serve local governments as a public law attorney in California, Massachusetts, and Colorado for the past eight years. I am proud to currently work for the City of Oakland, which is the second city in the nation to have a Department of Race and Equity dedicated to intentionally integrating equity and social justice practices on a city-wide basis. As a member of the Real Estate Unit for the City Attorney’s Office, I am particularly mindful of the enduring legacy of residential segregation created by redlining and racially restrictive covenants. My most meaningful graduate studies included American Indian Law and Race and American Law, both of which should be foundational coursework for all attorneys practicing in the United States. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to Cambodian parents who survived the Khmer Rouge, and I staunchly believe that the myth of meritocracy is used to perpetuate anti-black racism. Our family had a jewelry store in Memphis, TN, and I use this knowledge to create Bahai-inspired jewelry.See Faculty Bio


Renee Depew, BSEE

Electrical/Computer Engineer

Renee Depew graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in 1989 and has worked in the field of electrical engineering and computer science since that time. Renee’s passion for learning about racism and its effects on humanity led her to study with the Wilmette Institute Anti-Black Racism course in early 2019. She then worked as a teaching assistant in the course for several sessions before moving into her current faculty position. Renee also serves as an assistant for the WI Anti-Racism Project Center and  as a facilitator for Copper to Gold.  She hones her skills weekly in an anti-racism discussion group that reads and discusses the latest books on racism, and hosts a monthly article club at her workplace that educates employees on racism and how it can show up in the workplace.See Faculty Bio


Eleanor Mitten, MTS

Educator, Environmental Artist

I believe peace is an inherent human right and justice is the central organizing principle of a society based on the oneness of humanity. I’ve long been interested in processes and elements involved in the building of civilizations, both ancient—which are the world’s collective inheritance—and modern, to which we can consciously contribute each day as we design a foundation for the future. My research explores the histories of devotion as expressed in the generation of knowledge, material culture, and the formation of societies around the globe. For a decade I developed interfaith action programs for the faculty, staff, and students at Harvard University. In conjunction, I served faculty and students as a research and teaching assistant integrating the comparative and historical study of religion, archaeology, art, science, and social action. More immediately, I collaborate with individuals, families, and communities to nurture capacity to apply knowledge and spiritual principles for just social transformation. In addition to the joy of serving people in every phase of life, I enjoy learning about natural history, carving stone to reflect Bahá’í teachings, and creating environmental art to make contemplative community spaces.  Note: Eleanor is a former faculty member for the WI course "Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. and Building a Unified Society" and she currently helps out with the Most Vital and Challenging Issue Project Center.See Faculty Bio


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