In December 2014, the Gandhi International Institute for Peace introduced legislation in Hawaii through state Sens. Suzanne Chun-Oakland and Brian Taniguchi to designate Oct. 2 as “Mohandas K. Gandhi Day” in Hawaii. The Senate and House unanimously passed SB 332, and Gov. David Ige signed it into law April 9.

Hawaii has become the first state to commemorate officially Mohandas K. Gandhi’s birthday. Although the law does not create a new state holiday, it does set aside Oct. 2 for a very special day of remembrance.

He was famously known as “Mahatma Gandhi” and received worldwide recognition for his nonviolent approach to social change. Gandhi’s beliefs and actions brought forth the end of the British rule in India,  giving that nation its freedom in August 1947.

Mahatma Gandhi laughs in this photograph from the early 1940s. He was born 146 years ago this year.
Mahatma Gandhi in the early-1940s. He was born 146 years ago this year. Unknown via Wikimedia Commons

The General Assembly of the United Nations also passed a resolution in June 2007, declaring Oct. 2 as “International Day of Nonviolence.”

I laid the foundation for the Gandhi International Institute for Peace in Honolulu after the terrorist attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. One of the major goals of this institute is to promote world peace. To achieve this goal, it has been raising the level of awareness about nonviolence in Hawaii and around the world.

Hawaii is a melting pot, where people from different ethnic backgrounds and different faiths live in harmony. Hawaii has become a role model for the world by spreading the Aloha spirit.

A large bronze statue of Gandhi is located under a banyan tree next to the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki. It is a symbol of peace, nonviolence, equality, justice and freedom.

GIIP will also hold its 10th-annual event Oct. 2 to celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who was born 146 years ago on that date. The event is free to the public. It includes a long list of interfaith leaders: Bishop Randolph Sykes representing Orthodox Christianity; Rev. Kevin Kuniyak, Buddhism; Sister Joan Chatfiled, Roman Catholic; and Veda Das, Hinduism.

Keynote speakers will be Master Zhi Gang Sha, a spiritual master from China; Prabha Sankaranarayan, the CEO of Mediators Beyond Borders from New York; Maya Soetoro-Ng, director of Community Outreach & Global Learning from University of Hawaii (and half-sister of President Barack Obama); clinical psychologist Jared Yurow; Hawaii Sens. Brickwood Galuteria and Mike Gabbard; and Honolulu City Council Member Kimberly Pine.

The event will include an Indian blessing offered by Madana Sundari and a Hawaiian blessing from Kahu Bruce Keaulani and Kaito Gakko, as well as performances of the national anthems of Hawaii, the United States and India by the Royal Hawaiian Band; music and peace songs by the Unity Church Choir, Adela Chu and Espiritu Libre, Wallen Ellingson, children from the Unity school, Nimo Patel and Roopal Shah. There will be dance performances by Willow Chang, Ori Ann Li and their respective groups. The finale will be a candlelight ceremony led by Dr. Terry Shintani and the Knights of St. John followed by a peace dance.

Once Mahatma Gandhi said, 
“Be a change, if you wish to see change in the world.”
 Oct. 2 will represent change we all wish to see. Join us, won’t you?

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