(Orange, CA – January 11, 2024): In a groundbreaking moment of interfaith understanding, the City of Orange invited Ervad Zarrir Bhandara, a priest from the Zoroastrian Association of California, to deliver the invocation for their Epiphany meeting on January 9th. This historic gesture not only celebrated the diverse tapestry of religious beliefs in the city but also resonated with the Zoroastrian faith’s core principles of “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.”
Ervad Bhandara’s captivating speech transported the audience, including city officials, residents, and members of the medical and social work communities, on a journey through Zoroastrianism’s rich history and its emphasis on environmental respect, inclusivity, and universal human rights. He drew parallels to the legacy of Emperor Cyrus the Great, a pioneer of human rights whose decrees inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and influenced the American Constitution. “Our city thrives on the unique contributions of all its citizens. Let this council be a crucible where differences become ingredients for progress, and where compromises strengthen our bonds. Let us be co-creators of a brighter future for all.” Ervad Bhandara said.
Beyond showcasing the Zoroastrian faith’s wisdom, Ervad Bhandara was also recognized for his own exemplary acts of service. He has donated platelets and plasma over 550 times, saving the lives of over 1600 individuals. This selfless dedication resonated with the city, leading Mayor Pro Tem Ms. Barrios and Mayor Dan Slater to present him with a plaque in appreciation.
This momentous occasion served as a powerful testament to the City of Orange’s commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive community where diverse voices are heard and celebrated. It demonstrates the importance of building bridges between faiths and recognizing the shared values that bind us together.
As we move forward, let us embrace the spirit of unity and understanding embodied by Ervad Bhandara and the City of Orange. Let us learn from each other’s traditions, appreciate our differences, and work together to create a brighter future for all.