Our appeal is addressed primarily to the individual American, because the transformation of a whole nation ultimately depends on the initiative and change of character of the individuals who compose it. No great idea or plan of action by the government or other interested organizations can hope to succeed if the individual neglects to respond in his or her own way as personal circumstances and opportunities permit. And so we respectfully and urgently call upon our fellow Americans of whatever background to look at the racial situation with new eyes and with a new determination to lend effective support to the resolution of a problem that hinders the advance of this great republic toward the full realization of its glorious destiny.
We mention the experience of the Bahá'í community not from any feeling of pride and ultimate victory, because that which we have accomplished still falls short of that to which we aspire; nonetheless, the results to date are most encouraging, and it is as a means of encouragement that we call attention to them.
From its inception in 1863 the Bahá'í community was dedicated to the principle of the unity of humankind. Bahá'ís rely upon faith in God, daily prayer, meditation, and study of sacred texts to effect the transformation of character necessary for personal growth and maturity; however, their aim is to create a world civilization that will in turn react upon the character of the individual. Thus the concept of personal salvation is linked to the salvation, security, and happiness of all the inhabitants of the earth and stems from the Bahá'í belief that "the world of humanity is a composite body" and that "when one part of the organism suffers all the rest of the body will feel its consequence."
Guided and inspired by such principles, the Bahá'í community has accumulated more than a century of experience in creating models of unity that transcend race, culture, nationality, class, and the differences of sex and religion, providing empirical evidence that humanity in all its diversity can live as a unified global society. Bahá'ís see unity as the law of life; consequently, all prejudices are perceived as diseases that threaten life. Rather than considering that the unity of humankind can be established only after other problems afflicting it have been solved, Bahá'ís believe that both spiritual and material development are dependent upon love and unity. Therefore, the Bahá'ís offer the teachings of their Faith and the example of their community for examination, convinced that these can make a contribution toward the eradication of racism endemic in American society. We do so with firm faith in the assistance of our Creator, Who, out of His infinite love, brought forth all humanity from the same stock and intended that all belong to the same household. We believe, moreover, that the day of the unification of the entire human race has come and that "The potentialities inherent in the station of man, the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality, must all be manifested in this promised Day of God."