Indian-American peace activist Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, will be the keynote speaker at the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in North Portland as a part of the 20th Anniversary of the Season of Peace. Honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Gandhi teaches the philosophy of nonviolence as a way to move our world in the direction of peace. This special interfaith community gathering is a collaboration of The Unity Center in West Linn, Vancouver First Ave. Baptist Church, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and other local faith and educational organizations.
Dr. Arun Gandhi was born in South Africa during the time of the nation’s apartheid laws. He was a victim of racial violence by both blacks and whites and his teenage anger led his parents to send him to live with his grandfather for two years. During this time he learned to embrace the notion that “justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and suffering.” Through daily lessons, Arun says, he learned about violence and about anger. Throughout his life, Gandhi has been committed to the social and economic uplifting of the oppressed using constructive programs, the backbone of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. Currently, the family is working to establish a boarding school in the poorest rural area of India in his late wife’s name.
Gandhi has written several books, including Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence; Grandfather Gandhi, a children’s picture book memoir about Mahatma Gandhi’s lessons in peace and how they influenced his grandson; and Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, a companion to Grandfather Gandhi. Today, Dr. Gandhi speaks worldwide encouraging people to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”