The #HandsAgainstRacism initiative got a major boost when a retired teacher and long-time peace activist joined the campaign on Thursday, January 30.
Susan Ruzic, who initiated a peace project aimed at discouraging kids from playing with war toys, went to Spice Radio on the 72nd anniversary of the death Mahatma Gandhi.
Launched by the Burnaby-based radio station in January 2015 on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., #HandsAgainstRacism encourages participants to dip their hands in coloured paint and leave a handprint on white sheet with a message against bigotry.
With Gandhi in mind, Ruzic wrote alongside her handprint “Peace Begins With Me” and added a peace sign.
Gandhi was a global peace icon and a towering leader of the passive-resistance movement against the British occupation of India. He was assassinated by a Hindu extremist, Nathuram Godse, on January 30, 1948.
Although Gandhi was a devout Hindu, he opposed turning an independent India into a Hindu theocracy. And he vehemently denounced the religious partition of India between Hindus and Muslims in 1947, standing against sectarian violence directed at Muslims by Hindu fundamentalists.
Godse and his associates wanted to establish a Hindu state and saw Gandhi as threat to their objective—because of which, he was shot to death.
Twenty years later, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered by a white supremacist. Much like Gandhi he was also an advocate of peace and was despised by white nationalists.
Ironically, both India and United States are currently governed by politicians who reflect underlying ideologies that led to the killings of these two men.
Many of the leaders of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India glorify Godse. He belonged to the Hindu supremacist organization Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), of which BJP is a political wing. Notably, the RSS was banned for sometime following the death of Gandhi.
Ruzic told Spice Radio that the legacy of the two men has become even more relevant today due to rise in hate and violence all over the world.