June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
A thrilling initiative is underway: a group of bloggers are each attempting to create Baha’i-inspired content every day for 30 days! It’s called the Baha’i Blogging Challenge and you can read all about it, including how to participate and the writers who are involved, here on the website dedicated to the project.
Katherine Mayerovitch is the fantastic writer who has spearheaded the challenge and she kindly agreed to give us some of the behind-the-scenes details of this exciting initiative and how it came to be:
Baha’i Blog: What is the blogging challenge?
The Baha’i Blogging Challenge is pretty simple at its heart. During the month of November, post something related to or inspired by the Faith every day, and share with the hashtag #bahaiblogging so other participants can find it. Most people are participating through traditional blogs, but some folks are participating on Facebook or even Twitter. It’s deliberately open-ended so that as many people as possible can participate in a way that works for them.
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to create it?
There were a few things that really combined to inspire the Baha’i Blogging Challenge. The first is that I really love blogs! I have quite a few that I follow religiously, the same way some folks read the newspaper in the morning. And as someone who writes a lot of blog posts as a freelancer, they’re always on my mind, to some degree.
The second inspiring factor was the Bicentenary. For the first time in my life, there was this global flowering of Baha’i-inspired content all over social media. It was everywhere! There were essays and articles and videos and photos and art from all around the world. People were commenting on it, sharing it, borrowing ideas and remixing them in their own communities and sharing the results… it was everything I’d always hoped for, being part of a worldwide community online.
So I knew that I wanted to see some of that momentum continue, but how could a community be built around it, especially when we’re largely a community of amateurs? It couldn’t just be left to a few communication professionals. As I was thinking about all of this towards the end of October, a ton of my writer friends were gearing up for National Novel Writing Month, where people challenge themselves to write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. The community that builds up around it every year is incredible. And so that’s where the idea of a month-long blogging challenge finally arose.
Baha’i Blog: How has it been going so far?
I think it’s been going really well! As of right now, we have 24 people who have signed up to participate. Not all of us have been able to post every day, but everyone has posted at least something, and there’s a core community of folks who are all supporting and encouraging one another. A lot of us had blogged in the past, but had let it fall by the wayside over the years, and there are others who are totally new to the idea, and created something new just to participate in this challenge. We’re all breaking out of our comfort zones.
Another encouraging aspect of the blogging challenge is the diversity it encompasses. We have people who exclusively share poetry or art. We have people writing about the history of the Faith, people sharing favorite prayers, and people just sharing their everyday experiences as part of the Baha’i community. It’s very much a microcosm of the kind of creative expression we saw in October, and it’s incredibly exciting.
Baha’i Blog: How can others get involved, help motivate writers, or support this initiative?
Well, it’s never too late to join! You can put your name and blog down on our sign-up sheet, join our Facebook group if you want, fire up that blog, and get sharing at any point during the month. If that’s not your style, you can read what others are creating, either by checking out the sidebar links on the challenge website or by searching for #bahaiblogging across social media. If you see something that touches you or might be meaningful to a friend, share it. There’s nothing more discouraging to a blogger than that feeling that you’re writing into the void.
In the future I’d love to see even more experimentation. Is there a junior youth group where each member could write about their experience on a different day of the week? People working primarily through video? Cross-platform collaboration between writers and artists? Real-time reflections on the planning and execution of an expansion phase? There are so many opportunities for us to communicate more fully with one another. The biggest help is being willing to give it a go.
Baha’i Blog: Wow! What an incredible initiative! Thank you so much for sharing this! Good luck with the rest of November and I look forward to seeing how the month unfolds!
Find out more about the challenge, the blogs involved, ideas and prompts for writing, and how to participate, all on the website for the Baha’i Blogging Challenge: https://bahaiblogchallenge.wordpress.com/
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.