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Nelson Mandela dies

This article shared 3420 times since Thu Dec 5, 2013
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As the world took in the fact that former South Africa President Nelson Mandela died Dec. 5, many—including politicians as well as LGBT-focused organizations—responded via social media and press releases.

President Obama said Mandela was one of the most "influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth," adding "[w]e will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again."

"Our nation has lost its greatest son," South Africa President Jacob Zuma said in a televised address. "His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love."

In a statement, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, "Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters—and with all people—toward freedom. Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed."

"The great life of Nelson Mandela demands that, after our tears, we stand up, dry our eyes and work for justice throughout the world," said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), in a separate statement.

"We grieve for and salute one of the greatest leaders in history. Because of Nelson Mandela, South Africa became the first country in the world to include constitutional protection for same-gender loving persons," Wilson added. "As the head of a church with many gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer members in 40 countries, including South Africa, I honor the liberator, Mandela."

Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart stated, "Every one of us who continues the fight for equality and civil rights in our own communities labors in the shadows of this man who withstood imprisonment as a consequence of his courageous leadership and grew only stronger, more resolute and more dignified."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "The world is sadder now because he has died; but we are comforted knowing that the world is better because he lived. Twenty years after he visited Chicago, his message of peace and hope continues to resonate with the people of this city, as it does for all people of goodwill, and that message will live on."

Mandela, who died at age 95, spent 27 years in prison after the white minority government convicted him of treason, only to forge a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors after his release in 1990, the New York Times noted. Mandela led the African National Congress to an electoral victory in 1994, the first fully democratic election in the country's history.

Leaders and activists from across the globe issued statements noting his impact.

Metropolitan Community Church Response

"The great life of Nelson Mandela demands that, after our tears, we stand up, dry our eyes and work for justice throughout the world," said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches ( MCC ). "We grieve for and salute one of the greatest leaders in history. Because of Nelson Mandela, South Africa became the first country in the world to include constitutional protection for same-gender loving persons. As the head of a church with many gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer members in 40 countries, including South Africa, I honor the liberator, Mandela."

"Today, we stand in solidarity with all South Africans, united in hope by a life well-lived. Around the world, when we hear the powerful South African National Anthem, Nkosi Skelel' iAfrica, God Bless Africa, we all stand proud, knowing that freedom is possible," said the Rev. Darlene Garner, Director of the MCC Office of Emerging Ministries. Rev. Garner once served as interim pastor of Good Hope MCC in Cape Town, South Africa. "Nelson Mandela rose up after decades of imprisonment to free his people from the scourge of apartheid. The Father and first President of a liberated South Africa chose life instead of bitterness. He was a towering statesman for Africa and the world as he modeled reconciliation, compassion and justice."

"Nelson Mandela was a political and spiritual hero to many people the world over," said the Rev. Pat Bumgarder, Executive Director of MCC's Global Justice Institute. "Mandela said, 'To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.' I pray today that his spirit, like that of so many of the great saints who have gone before us, will continue to inspire us to do whatever it takes to live life in a way that enhances the freedom of all people."

"Today the world grieves as one in a way we seldom experience. We grieve and feel our universal sadness across cultures, religions, nations, peoples and difference. It is one of the gifts of Nelson Mandela's legacy of compassion," said Dr. Wilson. "So, together we pray for:

His family, and brothers and sisters in the struggle for freedom, who mourn him;

For South Africans, that they may be as united in his death as they were at that great moment nearly twenty years ago when he was first elected President;

That the world may treasure his memory and honor his legacy by following in his footsteps of justice, peace and reconciliation."

"I had the privilege of being in South Africa towards the end of apartheid, at a World Council of Churches meeting," said Dr. Wilson. "I met Bishop Desmond Tutu and so many young LGBT Christians and activists, some of whom had also been heroes of the movement to end the terrible atrocities of apartheid. I learned from one of those heroes, that when Nelson Mandela was a young attorney and activist, he had a driver who was a gay man, who helped him understand the need to include all people in the new South Africa. I give thanks for a leader who, in the midst of his own enormous challenges, was willing to have his heart and mind changed by a friend. The life testimonies of South Africans who sacrificed so much help inspire the members of MCC to keep on working for freedom. We are all eternally indebted to the example of Nelson Mandela."

All Out statement

"We are deeply saddened to hear about Nelson Mandela's passing. Yet, we are hopeful his legacy of tolerance and mutual respect will live on for generations," Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said. "As All Out continues to work with partners throughout Africa to free those who are oppressed and imprisoned for who they are and who they love, we will be inspired by Nelson Mandela's story and words."

The Foundation for AIDS Research Mourns the Loss of Former South African President Nelson Mandela

"We must act now for the sake of the world … AIDS is no longer a disease, it is a human rights issue."

NEW YORK, December 6, 2013 — Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and longtime HIV/AIDS activist, passed away on Thursday, December 5, 2013. He was 95.

Mr. Mandela was instrumental in breaking the silence around HIV/AIDS, and strongly urged the global community to unite in the battle against the disease. In 2000, he delivered a rousing closing speech at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, where he urged the world to address "one of the greatest threats humankind has faced." At the time his successor, President Thabo Mbeki, was denying that HIV caused AIDS and preventing the distribution of antiretroviral treatment in the country, which has the world's largest number of people living with HIV.

"Nelson Mandela's leadership as both an anti-apartheid campaigner and an AIDS activist was imbued with an unrivalled moral authority," said amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim, who knew Mr. Mandela. "He was a humanitarian in the purest sense of the word and his gentle presence in our turbulent world will be sorely missed."

"AIDS is clearly a disaster, effectively wiping out the development gains of the past decades, and sabotaging the future," Mandela stated. "We need to break the silence, banish stigma and discrimination, and ensure total inclusiveness within the struggle against AIDS."

"Nelson Mandela was a great leader who used his powerful platform to advocate for providing treatment and care to the millions of people living with AIDS, and ending the stigma associated with it," said amfAR Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost. "He has left an indelible mark on world history, and he will continue to inspire us all as we fight for an AIDS-free generation."

In 2005, Mr. Mandela urged families to break the silence again and speak openly about the disease's toll, after announcing that his son Makgatho Mandela, had died of complications related to AIDS. The same year he took part in amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole's "We All Have AIDS" awareness campaign, designed to fight stigma and encourage testing.

"I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Mandela on several occasions and his wise insights and profound sense of human dignity have been my greatest inspiration," said amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole. "He dedicated his life to overcoming adversity and injustice, and was relentless in his quest for social change and human rights. Nowhere are the themes of his life more applicable than in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and he leaves behind a legacy that presses us to continue fighting discrimination, and to work to end this epidemic."

Mandela spent 27 years in prison in an effort to end a 46-year long racial segregation policy in South Africa known as apartheid. Shortly after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with former South Africa president F.W. De Klerk for their work to end apartheid, Mandela was elected the country's first black president.

Witnessing the ravaging effects of the AIDS epidemic across sub-Saharan Africa, the battle against HIV/AIDS became central to Mandela's mission after his presidency. He launched a global campaign urging all governments to declare the AIDS epidemic not just a public health crisis, but also a human rights issue. Mandela pushed for all HIV-positive people in South Africa to have access to antiretroviral drugs through the public health system, and by the end of 2011, nearly two million South Africans were on treatment. He was also the driving force behind "46664" (his prison number), a worldwide campaign to raise global awareness about HIV/AIDS and funds to fight the pandemic in Africa. The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, founded in 1995, supports programs for orphaned children living with HIV/AIDS.

More about The Foundation for AIDS Research at .

International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission mourns death of Nelson Mandela

"I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity." — Nelson Mandela

Statement by Jessica Stern, Executive Director

"Nelson Mandela's death yesterday is an enormous loss to all of us, but his life and legacy were incomparable gifts to the world. I admire Mandela's leadership in the fight against the incomprehensible cruelty of apartheid and his advocacy for universal human rights. It is in part because of his great efforts that South Africa became in 1996 the first African country to provide constitutional protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Mandela once said, 'We must construct that people-centered society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political liberties and the human rights of all our citizens.' Today, in the tradition of Mandela, South Africans continue to be leaders on the world stage in the struggle to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Nelson Mandela, thank you."

This article shared 3420 times since Thu Dec 5, 2013
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