ROCHESTER: Mayor Ardell Brede of Rochester, Minnesota and Lt. Evenson of Rochester Police Department presented the prestigious community service medal of honor to Indian American and Houston resident Mandar Apte for building their leadership capacity for dealing more effectively with the growing issue of violence and improve the quality of life in Rochester.
Rochester is famously known for the Mayo Clinic – the world’s #1 medical facility.
Mayor Brede and Lt. Jim Evenson were part of a visionary delegation of leaders from across the United States who had traveled to India from Jan 24-31. The delegation was conceived and led by Mandar as part of the “From India With Love” initiative that he has started to expose America’s civic leaders to India’s ancient culture and to empower them to design solutions that can be implemented to stop the ongoing violence across America.
“Thanks for the great experience in India but more importantly thanks for the love that was shared. Tears have come from folks here at home
when I have shared the stories” said Mayor Brede upon his return to Rochester. The delegation also included social activists, law enforcement officers from Florida as well as victims of gun violence including Ron Davis whose son, Jordan, was brutally murdered at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012. “What a wonderful pilgrimage for the soul. I continue to be transformed” said Ron Davis upon his return from India.
From India With Love is inspired by the transformative journey that was undertaken by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1959, when he had visited India to deepen his understanding of the nonviolence (or ahimsa) principles as used by Mahatma Gandhi. During the trip, the participants learnt the Sudarshan Kriya meditation technique as taught by the Art of Living Foundation worldwide, attended Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary function (on Jan 30th).
The delegates also had an intimate interaction with Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati ji (of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh) who guided the delegates with spiritual wisdom on how to develop compassion for all living beings (not just humans) and how to effectively deal with growing issues of violence in the United States.
Nearly sixty years after Dr. King’s trip to India, the senseless violence across America continues – Baltimore, Orlando, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Dallas, Oakland, Baton Rouge, Milwaukee, Charlotte – the list goes on.
Today, violence has become an epidemic in America and can affect everyone regardless of our social or economic status. For instance, a mass shooting can happen in a neighborhood school, at a bar, in a movie theater or even at work. We are looking up to America’s leaders to design innovative solutions that will restore hope, harmony and peace in the communities, neighborhoods and cities.
Deeply pained by the ongoing violence prevailing in America, Mandar quit his day job in early 2016 (where he used to manage Shell’s GameChanger social innovation investment program) to produce ” From India With Love ” – a documentary film that shows the real life story of transformation of a group of Americans (who have all suffered from violence) during their pilgrimage to India in search of solace, healing and transformation.
India Post News Service