Build a Culture of Peace Week at California State University, Fresno begins Saturday, Sept. 25, with a poetry reading and continues through the 20th anniversary of the Peace Garden and its Gandhi memorial on Oct. 2. All events are free and open to the public.
The Peace Garden, just north of the Henry Madden Library on campus, is a sprawling expanse of greenery and pathways adorned with statues of peace advocates Gandhi, Jane Addams, César Chávez and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The eight days of events starts at 6 p.m. Saturday with a poetry reading in collaboration with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Fresno State Women’s Studies Department. The event will take place in the Peace Garden near the Addams memorial.
Lectures and discussions will also be part of the week’s activities:
- 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, “The Campus Commitment to Social Justice,” east wing of the University Dining Facility, in conjunction with the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity and Fresno State’s Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute.
- 2 p.m. Sept 29, “Words and Work of César Chávez” lecture by Dr. John Hammerback, Music Building Room 160, collaboration with the Department of Communication Department within the College of Arts and Humanities.
- Noon Sept. 30, “Ecofriendly Farming” panel discussion led by academics and community farmers, University Student Union Room 312-314, in conjunction with Fresno State Agricultural Operations and the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
- 7 p.m. Sept. 30, “The Healing Power of Religion,” panel discussion led by local spiritual and religious leaders, Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Education Center, in collaboration with the Ethics Center, the Department of Philosophy and its College of Arts and Humanities.
“In His Own Words,” an exhibit paying tribute to Chavez, opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery in the Madden Library’s Table Mountain Rancheria Tower. The exhibit, part of the College of Arts and Humanity’s month of activities celebrating the university Centennial, will be mounted through Nov. 13.
A candlelight vigil and “Concert for Peace, Unity and Harmony” will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Peace Garden. Entertainment will be provided by internationally acclaimed music director Yuval Ron and his ensemble and a Sufi dancer. There is no admission fee, but donations will be accepted.
The week’s activities conclude Oct. 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the 20th anniversary celebration of the Peace Garden’s founding with the statue of Mohandas Gandhi. The occasion also marks the 141st anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.
The event will include a garlanding and flower ceremony, to which the public is invited to bring flowers, meditation and a pledge against hate and violence. Community and civic leaders will speak, including Fresno State President John D. Welty.
Classical and folk dances of India and a music tribute are part of the program.
A highlight will be a re-enactment of Gandhi’s Salt March to Dandi in 1930, when he protested the British tax on salt by walking 240 miles to the seaside to harvest salt and was arrested. Gandhi’s act of civil disobedience helped set India on the path to independence.
For more information, contact Kapoor at 559.435.2212.