Media Center

Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela, who died today in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was ninety-five.

“On behalf of the people of the Ninth Congressional District of New York and myself, I join with the people of South Africa in mourning the passing of President Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as ‘Madiba.’

“Nelson Mandela was a world leader of the highest order. His commitment to justice, equality and the right to human dignity that must be afforded to each individual person accorded him a moral authority that would not and could not be denied. Through his demonstration of sheer intestinal fortitude, he led a non-violent liberation struggle that overcame a century of oppression in South Africa. He led an international anti-Apartheid movement, while imprisoned, that toppled an entrenched Apartheid regime and fundamentally transformed the civil society of his nation. His activism – based on non-violence and his commitment to reconciliation – made him a liberation icon around the world. He was a ‘once in a lifetime figure’ who through his legal skills, intellect and oratory brought down one of the last bastions of wholesale racial oppression in the world. His life affirmed the ability of men and women to achieve freedom from the harshest of racially oppressive regimes. He moved a nation of the oppressed and transformed them into liberators of humanity through organizational movement and sheer perseverance.

“I had the great honor of being among the crowd of Brooklynites who met President Mandela upon his release from Robbin Island when he was celebrated and paraded on a visit to Brooklyn. I remember the electricity in the air and the elation of my fellow Brooklynites. Who could forget the momentum and the power unleashed in saying the words “Free Nelson Mandela!

“He will remain forever an inspiration to those who believe in justice and equality and the promise of a better future for all of God’s children. Today, Madiba is truly Free! We all mourn in tribute to an Icon.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.