PULLMAN, Wash.– “Non-Violence or Non-Existence: Options for the 21st Century” is title of the keynote address by Arun Gandhi during the Jan. 14 Washington State University celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Gandhi’s talk will be part of a program beginning at 7 p.m. in the Gladish Community Center auditorium in Pullman. The program will be preceded by a traditional Unity March of campus and community members starting at 6 p.m. on WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall.
The City of Pullman will provide transportation from Gladish to the Students Book Corporation (“Bookie”) after the program.
Sponsored by WSU and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the program theme is “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi — Moving Beyond their Dreams.”
Ebony Ross, WSU student, and Joshua Dyer, Pullman High School student, will serve as the program’s respective mistress and master of ceremony.
Program participants will include Gretchen Bataille, WSU provost; Ernestine Madison, WSU vice provost for Human Relations and Resources; Mitch Chandler, Pullman mayor; and Neil Walker, WSU student body president. Also participating will be John GrosVenor, director of Native American Ministries for the NW District, Church of the Nazarene. He is a retired Moscow police officer.
Tentatively scheduled during the program will be a vocal solo of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem, by Maliza Lang, 4, a student at the WSU Early Learning Center.
Performing will be the Pullman High School Swing Choir, directed by Theresa Guptil. And, members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at WSU will present a slide show.
Gandhi, a Memphis, Tenn., resident, is the grandson of the late Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi, India’s spiritual leader. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, he has “dedicated his life’s work to fostering non-violent solutions to serious societal problems,” said Marcia Schekel, a member of the event’s committee.
Following the program, a reception will be held in Gladish, and Gandhi will sign his books, which will be for sale.
In Memphis, Tenn., Gandhi and his wife, Sunada, direct the nonprofit, nonsectarian M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence which they founded. “The institute fosters the understanding, application and practice of nonviolence,” said Schekel.
Both Rev. King and Mahatma Gandhi practiced and advocated non-violence toward the goal of peace among all people. And both died violently at the hands of assassins, Gandhi at 79 in 1948 in New Delhi, and King at 39 in 1968 in Memphis.
Arun Gandhi is an author and former newspaper reporter. He was born and raised in South Africa. In 1946, he traveled to India with his parents and lived for 18 months with his grandfather and learned how to deal with his anger positively. According to information from the Gandhi Institute, “In spite of (Mahatma Gandhi’s) preoccupation with India’s tumultuous transfer of power (from British rule),” Arun learned some “very important lessons in nonviolence.”
In related news, WSU Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards will be presented during the YWCA of WSU Racial Justice Conference, “Racism in Our Community: A Blueprint for Action,” to be held Jan. 30 at Pullman High School and Jan. 31 at WSU.
For more information, contact E. Lincoln James, co-chair, WSU MLK 1998 Celebration Committee, at 509/335-4716 or WSU Multicultural Student Services at 509/335-7852.
NOTE TO MEDIA: This WSU event takes place on Jan. 14. Jan. 15 is Rev. King’s actual birthday. WSU and the nation honor King with a holiday on the third Monday of January; in 1998 that day is Jan. 19. Spring classes at WSU begin on Jan. 12.