For the past 45+ years IDS has embraced Gandhi’s “Gram-Swaraj” and Self-Reliance movement. It was truly humbling and inspirational to see how not only India, but the world is welcoming this philosophy as part of sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
While many celebrations happened in greater Chicago to honor Gandhi on his philosophy, IDS honored Gandhi’s contribution to the world, and his legacy with an historical event, Gandhi150: Legacy of Peace on October 18, 2019 with the descendants of key peace leaders around the world who were greatly influenced by Gandhi. This was perhaps the first time such gathering of descendants of the peace leader happened in a vibrant and diverse city of Chicago!
IDS was privileged to host Ela Gandhi, grand-daughter of Gandhi, Dr. Maki Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s daughter, and Mr. Anthony Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, along with scholars, academicians, and eminent figures such as Prof Clayborne Carson of Stanford, Gandhi-King Institute, Mr. Prasad Gollanapalli, Ms. Santita Jackson, daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson, and writer, artist and activist, Mr. Che “Ryhmefest” Smith.
IDS co-hosted this event with WBEZ 91.5, United for Peace (U4P) and Gandhi 150 Commemorative Stamp initiative at Chicago prestigious Field Museum. The event was attend by over 300 people, including many dignitaries, such as Consul General of India, Mr. Sudhakar Dalela, US Congressman, Mr. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois Senator, Mr. Ram Villivalam, State Senator, Laura Ellman, Representative from Mr. Bill Foster’s office, Consul General of S. Africa, Consul General of Greece, Consul General of Sweden, Kari Steele, President of MWRD to name a few.
The event was first of a kind; global and cross-cultural providing a forum for dialogue not only on how the peace leaders shaped the lives of the esteemed speakers, but it was beginning of a bigger dialogue on how spirit of giving, love and peace has the transformative power of changing the lives of community we live in with examples of programs from Chicago such as Embarc and Genesis at Cross-roads.
The event reaffirmed IDS commitment to grass-roots community participatory development work (“Gram-Swaraj”) while may be slow, is far more lasting for building peaceful world.
Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.
A big shout out to our sponors for making this event possible. Thank you!