Mahatma Gandhi's legacy of nonviolence and activism will be celebrated this year.

Civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi led an inspirational movement across India all on the basis of nonviolence that led to the country's independence from British rule in 1947. 

To celebrate his teachings and the 150th anniversary of his birth, Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield will have several speakers discuss social issues and how his vision is applicable even today in the United States.

Stafford Betty, a professor of religious studies at CSUB, will present a lecture on Gandhi and his influence Wednesday at 6 p.m. at BC's Levan Center. Betty states there are several items people can learn from Gandhi: his Hindu upbringing and acceptance of all religions and people.

Gandhi's fifth grandson, Arun Gandhi, and Nipun Mehta will be the featured speakers at the 15th annual Kegley Institute of Ethics Fall Lecture at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 in the CSUB Dore Theatre.

For decades, Arun has shared the philosophy and lessons of non-violence learned from his grandfather all around the world, including hundreds of thousands of high school and university students. He has also written several books, including “Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence” and “The Gift of Anger, and Other Lessons Learned from My Grandfather Mahatma Gandhi.” Mehta is the founder of, an incubator of projects that supports a gift culture.

Arun Gandhi will also be speaking to Delano Early College students about how to channel their anger into positive change. The lecture will take place 11 a.m. Sept. 30 in Robert F. Kennedy High School's auditorium.

BC President Sonya Christian, from India, said Gandhi has been a role model for her and she is committed to using this year’s activities and observances to share his message.

"I see the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi’s message alive at BC each day. Our faculty and staff are unafraid of change; instead, they are catalysts for change. They are champions for student success ... integrity in education ... this community," she said. "During turbulent times, we need to make sure we continue to build bridges ... We as educators need to be developing students who are accepting of others, bridge builders who can work together."

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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