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Corridor Reaction to Mandela Death


  Freedom, Justice, Love, Hope are just some of the words being used as people across the globe remember Nelson Mandela.  The man who changed the world as a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary died Thursday at the age of 95.  People in the corridor say Mandela is the kind of person who comes along once in lifetime.  For many there are simply no words powerful enough to describe the visionary called Madiba or Father.  President Obama said we are not going to see the likes of Nelson Mandela again and former president Bill Clinton proclaimed him change-agent of the world.


His message to end apartheid soared far beyond the borders of South Africa to those here in the corridor.  Chad Simmons, Executive Director of Diversity Focus says even after 27 years in prison Mandela refused to be consumed by hate.   I think it gave people a tremendous amount of hope because they saw he did not lost hope .. President Mandelas message was for the human spirit that has no color or race or ethnicity.      


At the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids you can find all the iconic symbols of the civil rights movement in the United States, including black and white drinking fountains and the lunch counter representing the Woolworth protest in Greensborough, North Carolina. But Mandela became the symbol for the world.  Museum Director Michael Kates says he is saddened to hear of Mandelas passing but continuously overwhelmed by the man who was willing to die for what he believed and by his lasting impact.  Think about the people who jailed him .. who had beat him .. had spit on him.  He was eventually able to cross that line and bring them together.  


Simmons adds that despite Mandelas suffering, he did enjoy a special reward.  Unlike people like Stephen Biko or Martin Luther King .. he was one of the unique people that had the opportunity to see his dream come true. 

Simmons says while he hasnt heard of any plans as of Thursday night, hes confident there will be some type of gathering or memorial service in Cedar Rapids to remember Mandela.

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