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Published: Friday, 12/6/2013

Local luminaries share recollections, insights from anti-apartheid icon

BLADE STAFF

“Similar to many African-Americans, I admire Nelson Mandela as a symbol of struggle against injustice and racism. He succeeded in changing the political and cultural environment in South Africa, but his achievement is a model worldwide.

He is a model for patience and perseverance for all. His struggle demonstrated that we must have these attributes in order to be successful in our commitment to change and what is right.

Problems are not changed overnight, and sometimes change for good may take a long time, but change is achievable.

Mandela, like Martin Luther King, Jr., is a symbol of unwavering strength and commitment to achieve a better life for all mankind, through nonviolent means.”

— Richard Jackson

Retired assistant superintendent, Toledo Public Schools

 

“When I think about Mandela's impact, I am most inspired by the work he, along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and so many others, did through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The wounds in South Africa were not going to heal through retributive justice. Before the TRC, I don't know if we had any models of restorative justice. The process may have been hard and painful, but the results made South Africa a model for the hard, honest, necessary work of healing systemic prejudice and violence. The results are not perfect, they are not final, but they changed the tide for the country.”

— The Rev. Elizabeth M. Hoster

Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Toledo

 

“I was in high school when Madiba was released from prison in 1990. He became for me a living example of what it meant to be firmly committed both to a broad vision of justice and compassion for one’s oppressors. His commitment to justice and mercy has been a guidepost for my own social justice activism. Though I never met him, I will grieve his passing as a student mourns a beloved mentor.”

— Dafina-Lazarus Stewart

Associate professor, higher education and student affairs, Bowling Green State University

 

“Mandela went through so much and never showed any hate. That is a prime example of how you use love to change the world. ”

— Mike Bell

Mayor of Toledo

 

“I remember Mandela, first, for his association with the ANC, and I remember Steve Biko, another leader of his generation, seeking an end to apartheid. Biko, who was younger, died in police custody after a 24-hour interrogation and torture. Back in the day, the stakes were high. When [F.W.] de Klerk came here 15 years ago to speak to the League of Women voters, I objected. He'd been an integral part of the system that killed Biko.

I recall passing a resolution on Council condemning apartheid and advocating disinvestment in about 1989. I thought it would be a divided vote. To my surprise, the conservatives voted with us.

Mandela went on to become a world leader, an inspiration for many people, including me; a beacon.”

— Jack Ford

Former mayor of Toledo

 

“Nelson Mandela was a person of courage and faith. If there were a physical picture, a portrait, of the virtue of fortitude, it would be of him. ... In an age of personal destiny and dreams, his purpose on Earth was to show what it means to sacrifice. He matured in a beautiful way — with grace.”

— Rev. Talmadge Thomas

Senior pastor, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Toledo



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