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October 2 proclaimed Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago

October 2 proclaimed Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago
October 04
11:55 2019

RAMESH SOPARAWALA / SURENDRA ULLAL
India Post News Service

CHICAGO: It was a red letter day in Chicago for followers of Gandhian philosophy at large and members of the Indian community in particular with Mayor Chicago Lori Lightfoot issuing a proclamation declaring October 2, 2019, as Mahatma Gandhi Day in the city of Chicago.

Not only that, Mayor Lightfoot came in person as one of the honored guests at an event celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India.

The event was hosted by the Delhi Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities headed by an Indian woman community activist Smita N. Shah in partnership with World Business Chicago at Fairmont Hotel in downtown Chicago Downtown September 27.

This luncheon event was also  attended by a good number of front ranking leaders and community elites including  US Senator Richard Durbin, Indian Consul General SudhakarDalela, South African Consul General Phumzile Mazibuko,   British Consul General John Saville, Nepal Honorary Consul General , Marvin Brustin and Chicago First Lady, Amy Eshleman.

Smita N. Shah, Chairman of the Delhi Committee, introduced honored guests.

“Chicago has a unique history with India, from the Parliament of World Religions in 1893, when Swami Vivekananda came and spoke of the universal unity of religion,” said Shah.

“It is fitting that Chicago is among the first to recognize Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth Anniversary Chicago and the Delhi Committee is one of the first to have an annual Mahatma Gandhi celebration,” commented Andrea Zopp, former Deputy Mayor and CEO of World Business Chicago. “This is unique, and we are honored to do it.” 

Shahsaid the Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities promotes cultural, social and economic exchange between the citizens of Chicago and the citizens of India. 

“We honor Gandhi today, because it is such a significant example of the value of global exchanges,” she added

Senator Durbin explained how Mahatma Gandhi “was inspired by American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, in the concept of civil disobedience”. 

“In return, he inspired many world leaders, including Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King,” said Senator Durbin.  “We can all have an impact on improving lives by working together.”

Senator Durbin also spoke of the importance of immigrants in this country. 

“Immigrants in this country have made a tremendous contribution,” Senator Durbin noted. “This Senator believes in immigration.  This Senator stands by the communities of the City of Chicago.”

Introducing Mayor Lightfoot, Shah noted that “Gandhi’s fight for independence included a desire to fight poverty, create social economic opportunity for citizens and ensure the preservation of human dignity”.

Lightfoot gave a moving and impassioned speech about Mahatma Gandhi and his contributions, and how we all can learn from him. 

“Poverty is the worst form of violence,” she quoted Gandhi.  “We must do better for all of our communities.  We must do better for our immigrant communities.”

Shah, in her concluding remarks also observed: “I see Mayor Lightfoot in that same fight for human dignity for all.  Mayor Lightfoot reminds our community and the citizens of this city that strength and conviction belongs to everyone, and that we need to do well for each member of our city and that we cannot be successful unless each neighborhood and community has an opportunity for education and economic opportunity.”

The proclamation issued by the Chicao Mayor reads: “Whereas October 2, 2019, marks the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi; and

“Whereas, Gandhi is revered the world over for his nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance and as an advocate for all people, including the poor and disenfranchised, championing the causes of education, economic opportunity, and equality amongst all; and

“Whereas Gandhi is often named among the 20th century’s most important figures…

“Whereas, founded in 2014 by the Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, under the leadership of Smita Shah, the Annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon honors Gandhi’s lasting contributions and inspires us all to follow the example left by him: 

“Now, therefore, I, Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of the city of Chicago, do hereby proclaim October 2, 2019, to be Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago, in recognition of the important legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.”

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