published Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Gandhi's grandson brings Chattanooga a message of peace

Dr. Arun Gandhi talks and listens to College Hill Court residents Monday.
Dr. Arun Gandhi talks and listens to College Hill Court residents Monday.
Photo by Tim Barber.
Today's events

Tuesday

• 10:30 a.m. -- ReCreate Cafe, Salvation Army, 800 McCallie Ave.

• 11:30 a.m. -- Lunch and tour of Chattanooga Community Kitchen, 727 E. 11th St.

• 6 p.m. -- Presentation at City Council meeting, 1000 Lindsay St.

Chattanooga Department of Education, Arts and Culture is sponsoring the events

  • photo
    Dr. Arun Gandhi holds his hands in thanks following a compliment Monday as he talks to College Hill Court residents about how to deal with problems in the community.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

Gandhi's grandson arrived in Chattanooga under gray skies and a downpour. His first meeting with city residents in the College Hill Courts projects was suppose to be picturesque, in a little garden off Grove Street.

Janet Radden, an employee with the housing authority, went door to door with other residents begging for attendance.

In this neighborhood, all children have lived more than a year in poverty, and less than a third of people have jobs. The gangs are entrenched, and drugs flow in and out. Sometimes shots are heard at night.

Radden wanted people to hear about Gandhi, about peace.

About 40 people showed.

"Unless your are feeding them, they won't come," she said, disappointed.

But Arun Manilal Gandhi did speak to the mothers and children gathered. He told them not to look to other people to solve their problems and make change happen themselves, repeating his grandfather's words: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

A few Westside tutors -- Baylor students -- read notes their students had written for Gandhi's arrival. They answered the question of what they would do to "be the change."

"I will build a hotel for the homeless people."

"I would get rid of all the gangs and get all the guns and put them in a safe place."

"I want to stop bullying people and teach people to stop littering."

Mothers who listened smiled. So did Gandhi.

"Peace makers are like farmers," he said. "I am a farmer. I go out and plant seeds."

What people do with it is their responsibility, he said.

Contact staff writer Joan Garrett at jgarrett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6601. Follow her on Twitter at @JoanGarrettCTFP.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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