Rochester sending two delegates to India for training on 'peaceful protests'
Two representatives from Rochester will travel to India this month to study Mahatma Gandhi's teachings on non-violence.
Mayor Ardell Brede and Rochester Police Lt. James Evenson are scheduled to depart Rochester on Jan. 21 and return 10 days later. The cost of the excursion is being split between the city and the group organizing the trip. The city's financial commitment will be about $4,000 total, according to Mayor Brede.
They will join a group of civic leaders on a guided tour of India led by Mandar Apte, an activist and meditation expert who once managed Shell's social innovation program. The group will travel to many of the places that inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s peaceful protests against social injustice.
"If Dr. King was alive today, I think he would make yet another trip to India to rejuvenate himself," Apte writes in a blog post describing the trip. "He would probably meet with India’s civic leaders who are successfully keeping Gandhi’s legacy of non-violence alive."
"My guess is that he would come back with new insights to apply India’s wisdom of non-violence to the unique social challenges in America. The principles of non-violence are just as relevant today as they were 60 years ago."
This will the fourth time Apte has organized the expedition to India. His last trip, which included individuals who had been impacted by violence, is being made into a documentary film.
Apte and Brede first met last summer during a U.S. Conference of Mayor's event. After hearing that Apte was organizing another trip this year, Brede approached the Rochester Police Department about having an officer come along.
In a phone call this week, Brede said he expects to organize a community dialogue following the trip so the two men can share their experiences.
Brede said he looks forward to "learning and studying where Gandhi studied and did his work — hopefully learning that process and the thinking that went into how you work within the confines of peaceful protests."