Lessons From Michelle Obama And The 2019 Obama Foundation Summit: Empowering Communities Through Education

Chicago’s South Side Bronzeville neighborhood, a center of African-American life and culture, hosted the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit at the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019. The Advancing Women in Product (AWIP) team was invited to cover the Summit as press, and from the perspective of a female empowerment and advocacy NGO. (Kira Alvarez from the AWIP team covered the Summit.)

The South Side of Chicago was a deliberate choice. This region boasts a visionary past that has witnessed Ida B. Wells, President Obama, and Michelle Obama among others working toward social change. The Summit aptly chose the phrase “Places Reveal Our Purpose” as the conference theme, and touched on a number of pressing societal issues such as racism, poverty, and gender inequality. It showed that the South Side of Chicago is full of hope, love and energy that can inspire other places throughout the world. The critical role that communities and networks can play in supporting and promoting social advancement and opportunity was a powerful message from the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit.

Women leaders including Michelle Obama and Academy award nominee filmmaker Ava Duvernay spoke about their personal and professional journeys. These women showed that ambition and drive alone are not enough in pursuing a successful and fulfilling career. Support networks are key to achieving broader social change, especially for female advancement. This is in line with what researchers like Herminia Ibarra have remarked on the topic, that sponsors (both within and outside an organization) can help to accelerate careers and create opportunities. For Michelle Obama, support came from her family and a strong belief in self, which helped her overcome the prejudice she experienced growing up. For those who are looking to create their own support networks, search within your current social and professional networks – optimizing for those that will generate new opportunities.

An example of community engagement from the Obama Foundation is the Girls Opportunity Alliance (GOA), a program that seeks to empower girls and their respective communities through education. AWIP was invited to the intimate GOA roundtable with Michelle Obama, which featured international educators from countries including Cambodia, Guatemala, and Malawi who tirelessly work on the front lines to improve girls’ lives. According to Michelle, the lack of investment in female education is an international emergency: “What a waste. What a waste for society, what a waste for a family. What a waste for that girl’s soul to be trapped by her fate and not by her ability.”

The Girls Opportunity Alliance (GOA) empowers young girls in three dimensions: By growing an online network of grassroots leaders, by providing financial support for individual projects through GoFundMe, and by encouraging young people throughout the developed world to join the cause of promoting greater educational opportunities for women. GOA sees its work as not limited to a local or national context and therefore requires a transnational approach.  Creating an alliance of young women’s opportunities is ultimately about human rights. Investment in a network of girls’ education programs is key not just for the advancement of individual women, but also for the long-term advancement of societies. Being aware of opportunities outside one’s immediate surroundings, especially if those surroundings are limited by lack of resources, can be extremely freeing. According to the Gates Foundation 2019 Goalkeepers report, “the lack of access to education and jobs is destructive for everyone. It keeps women disempowered, limits their children’s life chances, and slows down economic growth.”

The Summit also featured other Chicago leaders who stressed the creation of strong networks and equality in education. Among them, Obama Foundation Scholars, Aimée Eubanks Davis and Dominique Jordan Turner, are founders of organizations that promote education and network creation. Ms. Davis, a 2018 Obama Fellow, is the CEO of Braven, an organization that works with universities and businesses to assist low-income, first-generation university students find employment post-graduation. Ms. Turner, a 2019 Obama Fellow, is the CEO of Chicago Scholars, a seven-year mentorship program that assists underprivileged Chicago youth in the college application process and subsequent employment search. Both Braven and Chicago Scholars are exemplary models of how organizations can provide disadvantaged students greater opportunities in the American educational system.  

Many of the students that participate in the Chicago Scholars or Braven program have the talent and ambition to succeed, but lack networks to help them create and sustain a career and might otherwise fall through the cracks. The programs therefore closely mentor underprivileged students by leveraging a large network of support including college counselors, potential employers, and alumni. Ms. Davis stressed, “referral networks are important in order to achieve career success.” Simply having a college degree and talent is no longer fully sufficient for gainful employment in the American workforce – that is the important lesson that these students are learning. Having the right skills through education is the first step but is much more effective when combined with a powerful support network. 

We find a similar root cause with the lack of women representation in tech leadership and executive ranks: many women already have their foot in the door and are often highly educated – but are often encountered with a glass ceiling. Organizations like Advancing Women in Product, Pink Innov, and the Operator Collective serve to stack the cards in the other direction: by creating opportunities where senior women can take a high-potential, rising leader under their wing. In a similar vein, these organizations are also creating communities and networks that encourage women to stay in the workforce and also introduce them to open leadership roles within the company as well as board seats for other companies. 

The 2019 Obama Foundation Summit ultimately demonstrated that social change requires not just hard work, but also the creation and sustainment of networks. Girls Opportunity Alliance, Braven, and Chicago Scholars are important models that utilize networks to help women and minorities achieve their goals. Let’s bridge the gap by building strong networks for ourselves and take our destiny into our own hands.


Physicians Hair Restoration Seeks Participants for “Effect of PRP on Male Pattern Hair Loss” Study

Physicians Hair Restoration Seeks Participants for “Effect of PRP on Male Pattern Hair Loss” Study – African American News Today – EIN News

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News24.com | EXTRACT | Lured to Cape Town by Rive’s District Six novel

After living in Cape Town for 20 years, Henry Trotter explores the unique character of the city while illuminating some of the hidden historical, political and cultural forces that shape its social life in his new book Cape Town: A Place Between. In this extract, Trotter shares what inspired him to come to this curious corner of the continent.

I first came to Africa in 1994 when South Africa teetered on a knife’s edge. In the months leading up to its first democratic elections that year, the country seethed with violence.

In KwaZulu-Natal, African National Congress (ANC) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) loyalists were engaged in a vicious regional war, fomented by a shadowy “third force” within the apartheid security apparatus.

East of Johannesburg, the charismatic South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani was assassinated at his home by two white men. Nelson Mandela himself had to beg the nation not to tear itself apart over this outrage.

And in Cape Town, the white American Fulbright student Amy Biehl was stabbed and stoned by young activists in Gugulethu township. They had just attended a rally where the cry of “one settler, one bullet” (kill the whites) still rang in their ears when they came across Biehl who was dropping off university colleagues.

As a 20-year-old student myself then, going into my third year of university in California and dreaming about where I could study abroad, South Africa was not an option. Not by a longshot.

It was still run by the National Party, the white supremacists who initiated apartheid and were scrambling to protect their privileges. And they were opposed by one of the most politically mobilised populations on earth, an “ungovernable” people who had been engaged in an endless series of protests, boycotts, stay-aways, strikes, and sabotage campaigns since the Soweto uprising of 1976.

I had to admit, from what I knew about the country then – through newspaper headlines mostly – I found South Africa to be thoroughly intimidating. Completely hard core. And its people seemed just a weeee bit intense.

So at the time, Zimbabwe was the place to go in Africa. Safe, stable, peaceful, with an excellent education system, Zim was a popular destination for college exchange programs. Renowned as “the breadbasket of southern Africa,” the country seemed poised for a bright future.

Seeking to expand my cultural horizons, I signed up to study African literature and the Shona language at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) in Harare. I even wrote a letter to then-President Mugabe before I arrived, letting him know that I was excited to visit his country. (He never wrote back.)

During my year at UZ, I learned as much as I could about African history, culture, politics, and literature. I read widely and took advantage of the easy access that Zimbabweans offered of their time and thoughts.

And I also took trips to the rural areas and neighbouring countries, including South Africa after the surprisingly peaceful elections. Went twice to Durban, a beach bum’s paradise at the time.

But after UZ, I didn’t want my time in Africa to end, so I got a job teaching English literature at a ritzy private boys’ high school next to the president’s house in Harare. Steeped in Anglo-Rhodesian traditions, the racially diverse students wore white collared shirts, red ties, khaki shorts, knee-high socks, blazers, and floppy cricket hats. They would stand and doff their caps, saying “Sir,” whenever I passed by.

Sadly, such courtesy did not extend to the country’s immigration officers who denied my application for a visa extension after six months of teaching. Apparently, I didn’t have any “essential skills” that Zimbabwe couldn’t live without. (I still don’t.)

So, I strapped on my backpack and started wandering around East Africa, plodding through Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania, then up to Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, then east to Kenya, and north to Ethiopia and Eritrea. Then I flew over to Madagascar and Mauritius for some months, then back to southern Africa again to explore Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana, eventually ending my sojourn in Cameroon.

Four years. Seventeen countries. It was awesome!

But as I travelled, I embarked on a personal mission. Everywhere I went, I searched out bookshops and bought as many local titles as I could find. Then I’d read them while in the country, inviting the literary renderings of these artists to enhance my own experiences.

This massively expanded my mental and emotional engagement with these places. It was in this way that I first got a glimpse of Cape Town, through a book I found while recovering from bilharzia in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. (Bilharzia is a liver fluke I got from swimming in Lake Malawi. Not pleasant. Don’t google it.)

I took the strangely titled novel, Buckingham Palace: District Six, back to my fleabag hotel-cum-brothel next to the bus station and devoured it. Even with all the noises permeating the flimsy room partitions, I began to glimpse a curious world that I had yet to encounter in my travels on the continent. One that challenged my notions of the complexity, diversity and cultural parameters of “Africa.”

Henry Trotter

The author teaching at St. George’s College in Harare, Zimbabwe, 1995 (top left), and enjoying Tississat Falls, Ethiopia, 1995 (bottom left); Richard Rive’s timeless novel, Buckingham Palace: District Six (right).

It was a creole world. A mixed world. An in-between world. It stood between the conceptions that I had always taken for granted about Africa and Europe, black and white, east and west. An unsettling and intriguing world. One that I would definitely have to see for myself.

Written by Richard Rive, Buckingham Palace tells the story of the residents of a block of flats in District Six, the historical heart of Cape Town’s coloured population. Written after the district was destroyed by apartheid bulldozers, the book recounts the sights, sounds, personalities, and wit of the area.

It revels in the vitality of the street life, the inventiveness of the mixed Afrikaans and English speech (Kaapse taal), and the quality of the relationships between the people there of all racial backgrounds.

Here was a story about a place similar to Harlem for African-Americans in its cultural and historical import for a group of people that I knew almost nothing about: Cape coloureds. A people, I’d soon learn, whose presence in this corner of the continent challenged any simplistic answers to the question of, “Who is an African?”

* This extract was taken from Cape Town: A Place Between by Henry Trotter, published by Catalyst Press. Trotter is the author Sugar Girls & Seamen: A Journey into the World of Dockside Prostitution in South Africa. This is Trotter’s third book, and the first in the Intimate Geographies Series by Catalyst Press.


Maverick Life: Turn that mic off! A brief history of the political gaffe

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 01: Counselor to President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway talks to reporters outside the White House May 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Conway was interviewed at the same time that U.S. Attorney General William Barr was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about special counsel Robert Muller’s report. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Where does the gaffe, that awkward and embarrassing misstep caught on camera or on microphone, come from? We investigate.

On 21 October, former speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete appeared on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head, presented by Mehdi Hasan. Business Day’s Jonny Steinberg, who was in the audience, wrote about the event: 

“It was a dismal experience, leaving me and many others depressed, listless and bad-tempered. It is not that Mbete’s performance was shockingly bad. Something more epic than mere incompetence was on display. It was as if the sheer rottenness of what happened under Jacob Zuma spilled from the stage.” 

Stupid – and hurtful – things politicians say when they go off-script (sometimes firing blunt truths in the process) is nothing new and definitely not specific to South Africa, but as Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post:

“We may be in a post-gaffe era. We’ve regrettably gotten used to the president saying ridiculous, cruel and racist things. The country largely tunes him out, as he has defined political rhetoric down. Perhaps voters just don’t pay attention to stupid things politicians say as much as they used to, or maybe there is so much news that a gaffe is old news before most people have heard of it”.  

And indeed, thanks to US President Donald J Trump, the gaffe – that very uncomfortable “oops” moment that should have stayed in obscurity but instead explodes under the spotlight like the DA upon Helen Zille’s return – might soon be an obsolete concept.  

The word gaffe comes from the French, and more precisely the Provençal, “gaf”, a word used to label a sort of boathook. Although it is unclear how it became the defining term for a total political blunder, it has been used as such for at least the last century. A Google Ngram Viewer graph (a program that can chart the frequencies of any single word or sentence “with the text within the selected corpus”) shows that the word “gaffe” has made increasing appearances since the 1920s, and has been flying high in our vocabulary since 1992.

In 2017, the Merriam-Webster dictionary even named “gaffe” as one of its Words of the Year. It made the top 10, along with the word “feminism”, which first spiked following the #Metoo movement and later, when, as per the Merriam-Webster, Kellyanne Conway proclaimed during an interview that “she didn’t consider herself a feminist”. 

Also one of 2017’s Words of the Year was “complicit”, this time again listed because of someone’s gaffe. Asked in April of that year by CBS News’s Gayle King about “whether she and her husband were ‘complicit’ in what was going on in the White House”, a dumbfounded Ivanka Trump responded: “[I] don’t know what it means to be ‘complicit.’”

A gaffe is often accidental and comes up when no one – especially those who have worked hard behind the scenes at scripting a whole tight scenario – expects it. 

Think La La Land, called on stage as the winner of the 2017 Best Picture Academy Award when, in fact, the real winner – announced a few minutes later – was Moonlight.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: ‘La La Land’ producer Jordan Horowitz (C) speaks while holding an oscar and the winner card before reading the actual Best Picture winner ‘Moonlight’ onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Sometimes a gaffe can be a glimpse into what politicians really think, like, when back in 2013, former president Zuma said: “We can’t think like Africans in Africa generally. It is not some national road in Malawi.” Or when current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani proclaimed on NBCs Meet the Press, “Truth isn’t truth”. 

In the universal world of bloopers, gaffes are not all the same; an article written by Dan Amira and published in The Intelligencer, dubbed “Taxonomy of Gaffes”, discerns six types of gaffes, including the Kinsley Gaffe, the Undisciplined Surrogate Gaffe and the Microphone Gaffe.

The Kinsley Gaffe, which is named after US journalist Michael Kinsley (who was the first to draw attention to it) is when the gaffe gives up the truth, like when acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, when asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if Trump’s actions over Ukraine amounted to quid pro quo: “I have news for everybody: Get over it, there’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”

There is also the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who, in 2010, when asked in a radio interview how she would handle tensions between the two Koreas,  said, “But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”

The Microphone Gaffe, as its name suggests, happens when a microphone should be off but isn’t, and the person miked makes inappropriate comments thinking no one hears except for the ones nearby. Trump gave us a taste of the “hot mic gaffe”’ when, in September 2005, during the preparation for of an Access Hollywood episode, he said, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… grab them by the pussy,” something that was then dubbed, “the locker room talk.”

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 20: Donald Trump (R) is interviewed by Billy Bush of Access Hollywood at “Celebrity Apprentice” Red Carpet Event at Trump Tower on January 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

There have been many more gaffes made by politicians and celebrities around the world, but very few were as damaging as the one uttered by US President Gerald Ford in October 1976, during a debate with Jimmy Carter.

Facing the camera, he confidently said: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe”, to which the New York Times’ Max Frankel responded: “I’m sorry, what?… Did I understand you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there and making sure with their troops that it’s a communist zone?” It cost Ford the presidency.

More recently, former VP and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, jokingly self-proclaimed himself a “gaffe machine”. Biden once told a paralysed man in a wheelchair to “Stand up, Chuck”, and described Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean”. These gaffes, just two among many others, might also cost him a seat at the democratic table.

Closer to home, South African politicians haven’t spared us from blunders. In February 2019, Daily Maverick’s Marianne Merten called it political self-sabotage when International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued a diplomatic summons claiming “interference by the Western imperialist forces”, and “latter-day colonialists” to five embassies, following the publication of an eight-month-old draft memo.

In March, DA (former) leader Mmusi Maimane told the Tembisa community on the East Rand, “44 out of 10 South Africans don’t have a job”, while in September, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe promoted “hazenile” at the annual Mining Down Under conference in Perth, Australia. Hazenile, he said, was a fabulous mineral discovered in the “Congo Caves”. Except Hazenile was someone’s April Fool’s joke and does not exist in real life. ML


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Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – review

Bernardine Evaristo won half the Booker Prize last week — sharing the award with Margaret Atwood, when the judges, chaired by Peter Florence, failed to do their job, choosing a winner.

 The split decision, expressly forbidden by the rules of the prize,  has been universally  ridiculed. One of the judges, Afua Hirsch, didn’t help by publishing an article asserting she was proud of the decision, while inadvertently revealing that, on her part at least, it was made on dodgy criteria. When it comes to Atwood and Evaristo, “you can’t compare them”, she said, “but you can recognise them both. And I’m glad this is what we did.” On this helpless basis,  there can be no literary prizes. Or if there are, they should have as many winners as entrants. 

How did the Booker end up such a muddle? Perhaps partly because it was so overtly, this year, a prize devoted to celebrating diversity above other forms of excellence in fiction.

If diversity is what you value most in new fiction — and given that one of the great purposes of fiction is to help us understand the experiences of others, it might very well be — then it seems almost indecent to prize one form of diversity more than another. So that would make it difficult to choose a single winner wouldn’t it? Unless perhaps it is possible to decide which novel is, as it might be almost quantitatively, the most diverse? 

That novel this year is Girl, Woman, Other. This highly readable, even slightly saga-ish, book is dedicated to presenting the life experiences of 12 black British women from different backgrounds, giving a voice as directly as possible to those who, until really quite recently, have been little represented in British fiction, certainly not in novels with the sales that Evaristo’s now seems certain to achieve.

Each of these women is given her own section, almost a separate short story,  loosely linked. First we meet Amma, the character most resembling Evaristo herself, a radical feminist lesbian playwright in her fifties, about to go to the first night of her latest play, The Last Amazon of Dahomey, at the National. The book returns to the celebratory after-party in its penultimate chapter, an occasion that brings together nearly all the other characters. 

There’s Yazz, Amma’s sparky 19-year-old student daughter, fathered by dapper gay media don, Roland. There’s Dominique, her lifelong ally, despite her move to America, after being inducted into a radical feminist lesbian commune by a controlling lover, Nzinga. There’s her schoolfriend Shirley, who has become a teacher herself, striving to help her more talented pupils. Among them is Carole who, after being gang-raped as a teenager, has resolutely taken control of her  life, attending Cambridge, becoming a banker — and finding a white partner, to the initial consternation of her Nigerian mother, Bummi. Carole’s schoolfriend LaTisha, however, works in a supermarket and has three children by different fathers.  

Unconventional prose: Bernardine Evaristo at the 2019 Booker Prize at The Guildhall in central London. She shared the award with Margaret Atwood (Dave Benett)

Then there’s the extended family of Grace, born in 1895, to an itinerant Abyssinian seaman and a 16-year-old girl from South Shields, orphaned when she was eight but married to a landowning farmer. Her one child, Hattie, now 93, married an African-American serviceman, Slim — and their descendants include Megan/Morgan, who self-identifies as gender-free, “they”, and has become an important social media influencer and activist. “Megan was part Ethiopian, part African-American, part Malawian, and part English which felt weird when you broke it down like that because essentially she was just a complete human being”, we are told, in a voice that is partly her own but also choric. 

One of the 12 women here, a foundling, Penelope, a middle-class, twice-divorced feminist now nearly 80, seems not to belong so much to this novel — until an Ancestry DNA test proves otherwise, returning her to its heart, for a heartwarming end (“this is about being / together”). 

Evaristo packs all this in by adopting a free declamatory style, using commas, but no caps to start sentences, and no full-stops or quotation marks. The prose is printed almost as verse,  with crudely emphatic line breaks, and even single-word lines, mixing together narration, dialogue and internal monologue, reading at times like a play-script. The syntax is repetitious (she does this, she does that), the diction loose and conversational. Evaristo provides a great deal of information about her characters (including always about the food they eat and the clothes they wear and other such markers) but it nonetheless remains cursory and sketchy, like a series of rapid CV’s.

Despite the lack of conventional punctuation Girl, Woman, Other makes for fast, easy reading, but it never deepens much as a novel beyond this level of quasi-sociological reportage, skimming along. Perhaps given the mission — “ I just wanted these characters to expand in people’s minds the idea of what black British women can be”, Evaristo said after half-winning — this profusion is no fault, but rather the essence of her achievement. 

The Booker Prize might usefully clarify its purpose next time around, though. 

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, £16.99), buy it here.


Diverse groups demonstrate against Gandhi’s alleged racism, sexual abuse

  • By a Staff Writer India Abroad Oct 5, 2019
Diverse groups demonstrate against Gandhi's alleged racism, sexual abuse
Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia

As celebrations across the country marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Oct. 2, several groups demonstrated against the Mahatma.

According to a press release issued by the Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), protestors accused Gandhi of racism and displayed placards calling him the “father of apartheid.” Other placards claimed Gandhi hated women and stated that “Gandhi was a sex offender.”

At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia, a group including several African-Americans demanded removal of the Gandhi statue placed at the center, the OFMI said.

Jerry Jones, an OFMI activist, displayed placards declaring: “No place for Gandhi in USA.” Another placard held by Jones quoted South African author Ashwin Desai, who stated, “Gandhi believed in the Aryan brotherhood. This involved whites and Indians higher up than Africans on the civilized scale.”

Demonstrators later moved to Georgia State University to protest a commemoration of Gandhi hosted by the Consulate General of India in Atlanta in collaboration with the Gandhi Foundation of USA.

Earlier, on Sept. 24, according to the OFMI press release, Jones and Nanak Singh represented the group at the Gwinnet County Board of Commissioners’ public hearing, “where they appeared to register dissent” against a proposed bust of Gandhi which the county was planning to unveil at Bryson Park, Lilburn, Georgia, Oct. 12.

“There is no way there should be statues erected commemorating a man who could not stand Africans,” the OFMI press release quoted Cheryle Renee Moses, the Democratic nominee for Georgia State Senate’s District 9 in Gwinnett County as saying. “I’m sure many other African-Americans and black folks would feel the same way once they are educated on Gandhi’s real beliefs about Africans, about black folks,” she said.

Similarly, on the West Coast, approximately 20 people blocked the Sather Gate at University of California, Berkeley, Oct. 2. Holding a large banner declaring, “150 Years of Racism: Happy Birthday, Gandhi,” they chanted slogans such as “Down with Gandhi” and delivered short speeches about why they were protesting Gandhi.

“Gandhi is used as a diplomatic weapon by the Indian State,” said Bhajan Singh, a former director of OFMI. He claimed that the Government of India has expanded its budget to finance Gandhi statues around the world, adding, “They have occupied Kashmir, they have attacked the Sikhs in Punjab, they have attacked Dalits, Christians, and they want to forcefully convert and submerge the traditional Dravidian culture of India into the pro-Aryan culture.”

Although Gandhi is widely perceived as a “Mahatma” (Great Soul) and portrayed as an icon of peace, the past several years have brought increased calls for reevaluation of his legacy. In 2014, protests erupted over a proposed statue of Gandhi in London after historian Kusoom Vadgama began a petition alleging that the Indian activist “dishonored women.” In 2018, a Gandhi statue was removed from the University of Ghana campus after students and faculty began a petition against Gandhi’s “racist identity.” An ongoing campaign against a proposed statue of Gandhi in Malawi has generated almost 4,300 signatures on a petition calling him an “ardent racist.”

“Modi’s years of building upon the false Gandhi propaganda to support the goals of India’s Hindu nationalist movement are being challenged around the world,” Arvin Valmuci of the OFMI said.