On November 13, 2018 Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, spoke about the principles of peace and civil disobedience at the 1440 Multiversity in Scott’s Valley. Ela Gandhi was on a panel with two other civil disobedience activists Ellen Grace O’Brian and Jim Wallis.
Ela Gandhi spoke about her time as a member of parliament in South Africa and her desire to start a newspaper focused on positive news. Most of the mainstream news focuses on negativity, so she emphasized the need for news to report human progress in order to give others hope for humanity.
Jim Wallis spoke about his time spent at churches and communities during apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. Jim Wallis told a story about how the military surrounded the church with more militiamen than there were church members inside. The military told the church members that they own each of them, their property, their faith and even their god. The pastor responded with a smile that no one owns their god, and the congregation sung and chanted soon after. The South African military members retreated with this forward act of disobedience by the pastor and the church members.
During the “Questions & Answers” segment Philip got to ask Ela Ghandi the question, “It’s been 50 years since the assignation of Martin Luther King, Junior, a man greatly influenced by the principles of non-violence that Ghandi had embraced while under British colonial rule. As a descendant of Gandhi, what wisdom would you spread to Martin Luther King, Junior’s children if you were able to speak to them now?” Ela Gandhi stated that she has not followed her grandfather in a way that others hoped she would, because she seeks to forge her own path. Ela Gandhi encourages the children of Martin Luther King, Junior to forge their own path of civil disobedience and the message that she has to communicate with them should not just be exclusively for them but for all people. Ela proposed treating all people equally, and to not be exclusive with individuals who are of a more famous ancestory, even if they have an ancestory with the peace and the civil disobedience movement.