In the nation’s most diverse city, we live the values of tolerance, inclusion,
and pluralism, which were among Gandhi’s most important teachings.
‐ Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston
According to Rice University Professor Dr. Stephen Klineberg, noted sociologist, Houston is one of the most vibrant, culturally expansive places in the United States. Its urban sprawl is bigger than Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia combined.
Houston ranked first in WalletHub’s 2019 Diversity Study Series, which scored 501 of the nation’s largest cities in five categories (household diversity, religious diversity, socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, and economic diversity) across 13 metrics1. Out of all WalletHub categories, Houston earned its highest ranking in cultural diversity, at No. 29, a calculation based on diversity in race, ethnicity, birthplace, and languages spoken in the city.
Houston’s cultural diversity makes it rich with opportunities for residents and visitors alike to explore cultural activities, experience different kinds of foods, and meet people of various backgrounds. Conversely, experts say that some may be overwhelmed by the richness, that governing and managing a diverse city is more difficult, and conflict is inevitable2.
The fourth largest city in the United States also experiences the same socio-economic and quality of life issues facing many cities nationwide: poverty, unemployment, housing, education, traffic congestion and commute times, environmental concerns, and violent crime.
Houston has a violent crime rate of 1,026 incidents for every 100,000 people and a murder rate of 11.8 per 100,000, more than double the comparable national average3. Additionally, researchers at UT Health Science Center Houston and reported that nearly 20% of fifth graders in the Houston Independent School District have experienced at least one violent injury. Specifically, 12.5% of fifth graders reported having sustained a violent injury due to firearms, 8.4% due to knife injuries, and 3.6% due to fights. Further, violent injuries increased over time, with 49% of 10th graders saying they sustained a violent injury over the past 12 months4.
It is clear that, today, there is no greater priority in our rapidly changing, multi-cultural community than to implement strategies that enable nonviolent conflict resolution.
Mahatma Gandhi changed the lives of millions of people in India and around the world by serving as an advocate of truth and peace and by showing that profound social change can be achieved through peaceful means. By telling the story of Gandhi and the leaders he inspired, the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston will educate and inspire children, youth, and adults to choose the path of peaceful conflict resolution.