Recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with Senator Dick Durbin and a host of business leaders and dignitaries teamed up with Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee Chair Smita Shah, to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi, on the 5th celebration in the Chicago area lauding the Indian leader for his championing and inspiring the civil rights movement, on Gandhi’s 150th celebration of his birth. The gala also recognized the deep roots and culture of the Indian community in the Chicago area.
The Mahatama Gandhi Luncheon was the brainstorm of Smita Shah. the CEO of a major construction firm in the Chicago area.
Smita Smith, who is recognized in multiple states for her construction work, and has degrees from MIT, Northwestern and Oxford Universities, has been recognized as one of the most influential business leaders in the nation and is lauded for her charity and philopatric work, launched the Mahatma Gandhi luncheon in 2014, as part of her role as chairman of the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee.
During the luncheon, Mayor Lightfoot capped the joint celebration of the contributions of the Indian community in Chicago by noting she had declared October 2nd as Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago, as recognition of the close relationship between Gandhi and the civil rights movement, as well as the close connections of the Indian Community as exemplified by the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee.
Mayor Lightfoot’s proclamation also cited Gandhi’s tremendous influence on African American leaders such as Howard Thurman, Benjamin Mays, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who were deeply influenced by Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience.
Speaking for the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee, chairman Shah noted that it was a deep honor for her to reflect on the both the Mahatama Gandhi luncheon and the mayor’s proclamation, and noted the idea all started in recognition not only of Mahatma Gandhi but in how we can all have an impact on improving lives by working together.
he Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International
Chicago Sister Cities International is a division of World Business Chicago and its intentions are to foster bridges and share ideas between Chicago and its international communities and partners. Learn more: https://cee.mit.edu/tag/smita-shah/
The Chicago Sister Cities International has been promoting cross-cultural arts and tourism, global education, international business and government exchange since 1973.
Among Smita Shah’s notable achievements was being awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, joining such notables as Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, and Rosa Parks, recognizing those who have significantly changed the face of America.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot became mayor of Chicago in May of 2019, the first black woman mayor in Chicago’s history.