I am a Baha’i. I believe in the oneness of humankind. As a mother who taught her children to celebrate their Alaska Native and Filipino heritage, I am in a lot of pain right now. And now our community is dealing with hate symbols painted on our roads.

A country that has the knowledge and power to land a rover on Mars can’t seem to accept the fundamental truth that even though we humans look different, we are truly more alike. Science has proven that our DNA identity is 99.9% the same, but it is that 0.1% that separates and challenges us. Skin color, eye color and shape; these relatively minor genetic differences cause such division and conflict. I honestly fail to understand why. As a person of faith who considers all humans as created by one God, I must humbly accept that we are therefore all equal in the sight of God.  As the preamble to the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”

I grew up in a homogenous, essentially all Caucasian community unaware of the unwritten rules of that time in the 60’s. During the civil rights movement, I realized that my hometown practiced the unwritten rule of not renting or selling property to non-Whites. I was so ignorant, and it wasn’t until college that I learned about the rich diversity of our country. It was such an amazing education just to meet students of different races, cultures and countries. After college graduation, I served three years in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, and to this day I consider that my best education ever. Immersed in another culture, I lived the reality that we are indeed more alike than different, and that truth has been integrated in my being ever since. It seems like such a basic, fundamental truth, so I struggle to understand why this belief is so hard to accept.

Nature is a palette of beauty in diversity — different birds, different trees, different flowers and plants of interconnected, co-dependent ecosystems. This harmonious model is right before our eyes.  Without sacrificing individual identity, each living thing carries out its purpose for existence and reflects God’s creation.

My beliefs are founded in spirituality. I possess a sense of humility before God, my Creator, and the source of my being. Martin Luther King, Jr. derived his power from the love of God. If you love God, should you not also honor, respect and love all of His creation? A Baha’i prayer guides us “O Thou Kind Lord, Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Unite all, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.”

I risk oversimplification, but every day we have the opportunity to thank God for the gift of our life, and love one another, truly love one another. Indeed it is the foundation of every religion of every age.

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Diane Gubatayao is a longtime Ketchikan resident who raised her family here and believes Ketchikan is the best community anywhere.