Working towards a hopeful future: Peace and equality

Allegra Gold, Contributing Writer

The University honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day by promoting peace and equality through various empowering guest speakers and campus events in a weeklong celebration from Jan. 16–22. The week was dedicated to the remembrance of peace, courage, bravery, equality, and love. On Jan. 19, the University was honored to invite Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, to the stage. Gandhi, whose grandfather was the leader of India’s independence movement, founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute.

Gandhi emphasized the idea that through strengthening our minds, we can bring about change. His speech touched upon the detriment that violence brings upon society and the idea that the key to a peaceful world begins with each individual’s solemn vow to practice nonviolence.

“I was inspired by the way he lives and advocates for a completely non-violent life, whether that violence is emotional, physical, active, or passive. It was eye opening and moving, and the passion that he shared, along with the personal anecdotes about his grandfather captured the realistic ways in which individuals can and should contribute to a more peaceful world,” Callie Danforth ’19 said.

Gandhi spoke of his relationship with his grandfather and the role he played in his life. He also spoke openly and honestly of his transformation from a youthful individual, who often became angry and got into fights, to one of peace and nonviolence. This incredible anecdote depicted hope and the chance for positive change. One story in particular was of King’s visit to India, just one year after he visited the University.

“Dr. Gandhi spoke of the four principles of non-violent resistance that he learned from his grandfather. They are truth, constructive action, respect, and acceptance. For me, the most profound of the many challenging articulations of Dr. Gandhi was the idea that he said his grandfather expressed, that he had no enemies, only friends he was hoping to transform. That paradigm shift is profound and offers space for compassion and love rather than destruction and defeat. It opens the possibility of reconciliation, which is intriguing and hopeful. It has worked in the past,” Professor of English and Director of the Griot Institute of Africana Studies Carmen Gillespie said.

The event was a complete success and inspiration to all those attended.

“Arun Gandhi had a calming and wise view of the world that is hard to come upon in this time and place. His hopes for a world of peace were inspirational and touching, especially during such a terrifying time in our country,” Sara Rukeyser ’19 said.

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