Fresno State will host a two-day event, “A Forum for Inclusion, Respect and Equity: Combating Hate One Talk at a Time” with Sally Kohn, author of “The Opposite of Hate.”

The forum will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 3 and 4. It is open to the public and was organized by the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity at Fresno State.

A progressive political commentator on Fox News and now CNN, Kohn’s work focuses on helping people bridge political differences.

“In today’s world, where we are all feeling the cultural divide, this is the perfect opportunity to hear from someone whose work is lauded by both Sean Hannity and Van Jones as transcending, uplifting, inspiring and funny,” said Francine Oputa, director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State. “I think we can all use a little Sally Kohn right now, regardless of where we stand on the political, social and cultural continuums.”

The President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity, established in 1991, launched A Strategic Plan for Inclusion, Respect and Equity (ASPIRE) in 2013. Since then, the commission has hosted annual events and initiatives.

The forum is one of several events tied to the theme “Stop the Hate, Stop the Violence: Build a Culture of Peace Commemoration.” University President Joseph I. Castro issued a proclamation on Sept. 21 declaring that “Fresno State will neither condone nor tolerate hate-related acts in our community.”

Forum events begin with refreshments and registration at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, in the Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room of the Henry Madden Library. A welcoming and announcements will be at 6:15 p.m., with a keynote presentation and question-and-answer session with Kohn beginning at 6:25 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m. the group will adjourn to the Peace Garden, just north of the Madden Library, for a community celebration and candlelight vigil in honor of Mahatma Gandhi’s 149th birthday. The candlelight vigil is free and open to the public. Castro will share the proclamation, and the event will include a garlanding and flower ceremony, in which Kohn will take part.

Forum events will continue on Thursday:

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration and refreshments
  • 8:45 a.m. – Welcome and announcements
  • 9 a.m. – Courageous campus voices
  • 10:30 a.m. – Reflections by Sally Kohn
  • 11:30 a.m. – Luncheon
  • Noon – Welcome and keynote presentation
  • 1 p.m. – Open dialogue with Kohn and Castro
  • 1:30 p.m. – Question and answer session
  • 2 p.m. – Closing remarks

For more information about the forum, contact Vicki Taylor at or 559.278.0145.

A photo exhibition featuring images from the life of Gandhi will be on display Oct. 1 through 7 on the first floor of the Henry Madden Library.

The Gandhi events are supported by the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity, the Cross Cultural and Gender Center, Trabajadores de la Raza, Associated Students Inc., USU Productions, Gandhi Memorial Education Fund, United Hindu Coalition of Central California. For more information, contact Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor at 559.435.2212.