Now is the Time: Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Anti-colonial Struggle and the Black Freedom Movement
Now is the Time: Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Anti Colonial Struggle and the Black Freedom Movement June 14-15 Church of the Advocate 1801 Diamond St., Philadelphia
June 14 5.30 pm - 9 pm
Screening of Richard Attenborough's Movie "Gandhi" Snacks will be provided
June 15 11 am - 6.00 pm
11.00 am Panel 1: Hinduism, Black Christianity and Islam: The intellectual and spiritual life worlds of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman, Sri Narayan Guru and Hon. Elijah Muhammad Asokan Vengassery Krishnan Nandita Chaturvedi Divya Nair Jahanzaib Choudhry
1.00 pm Lunch
2.00 pm Panel 2: Indian Anti-Colonial Struggle, black freedom movement and the ongoing problem of white supremacay P K Somarajan Archishman Raju Tony Monteiro
4.00 pm Cultural celebrations Dance, Singing and Poetry Reading
Now is the Time: Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Anti-Colonial Struggle and the Black Freedom Movement
The year of 2019 is the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. We, in Philadelphia, will continue our celebrations for the year with our second event, Now is the Time: Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Anti-Colonial Struggle and the Black Freedom Movement, where we call on people to look back at the Indian Anti-Colonial Struggle and the Black Freedom Movement to anchor us today in a new resistance.
These are difficult times for people around the world. The ruling elite in the United States has brought the world close to war. This society is driven by increasing violence, in the form of white supremacy and economic exploitation, leading to misery and poverty around the country. Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the United States, and all around us, we see an illogical society unable to provide people with basic needs, but also unable to create meaning in the lives of people. A crisis in which a society is unable to create meaning for those who live in it is a crisis of civilization, and these are signs of the increasing calamity that western civilization faces.
In this time, people are crying out for a new knowledge and morality, that can liberate them from the shackles of oppression and create new meaning in a time of crisis. They are increasingly rejecting elites who control knowledge. They are rejecting “experts” who stand above the people, and exercise authority and control over knowledge. They are rejecting the attacks of these elites on our great freedom fighters.
And so we turn to Gandhi as a figure for our times. A celebration of Gandhi, is a celebration of the Indian freedom struggle, a multi-faceted struggle which heralded the end of colonialism in India and inspired the liberation struggles in Africa and Afro-America. A celebration of Gandhi is a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., a great soul himself and the greatest interpreter of Gandhi, who provided an extraordinary synthesis and radical practice of the ideas of Gandhi. It is grounding ourselves in the values and ideas of the black freedom movement, and seeking the path forward. A celebration of Gandhi is an interrogation of Western Civilization, and of the violence in our societies. And finally, a celebration of Gandhi is a call for world peace.
We seek to know the world in order to change it. We will discuss and learn from the ideas of the Indian freedom struggle and the Black Freedom Movement but also from some of the world’s greatest civilizational traditions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Black Christianity and Islam and African spiritual traditions. We will discuss the deep connection between India and Afro-America, the role of the black church and the black colleges and universities in forging this connection through figures like Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman, Mordecai Johnson, William Stuart Nelson and others. We will bring light to the ideological and principled unity between these past heroes, and the lessons for today.
We call upon the people of Philadelphia to join us and continue the struggle for peace and justice.