During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. — Nelson Mandela
When Nelson Mandela died yesterday we lost a man of integrity. To think about that loss brings us pain and many shed tears, but we should not cry. Nelson Mandela lived a full 95 years. During his life he was a fighter – in both the literal and figurative. He served 27 years in prison fighting for the freedom of his people – and he was willing to die so that everyone would have the opportunity to experience freedom and to live as free people.
Today, flags at the US Capitol and at state houses around the nation are flying at half-mast. People are pouring out their love for one of the most courageous men of our lifetime all over social media. The African nation is planning a grand celebration in his honor for the next 10 days before he is taken back to his tribe to be laid to rest.
But what is next?
When the flags go back to flying regularly, the profile pictures, quotes on social media are replaced by the random everyday conversations and the celebration is over, what happens next?
I never had the opportunity to meet or talk to Nelson Mandela, but I am confident that for him, the real honor would be for us to continue his legacy of fighting. There is still much work to do here in the United States. If we want to fully honor his legacy let’s stand as modern day freedom fighters.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 says:
But Christ really has been raised from the dead. His is the first of all those who will rise. Death came because of what man did. Rising from the dead also comes because of what a man did. Because of Adam, all people die. So because of Christ, all will be made alive.
Death came because of a man. Eternal life will come because of a man. Freedom became a reality because of another man. All these men made choices. Jesus and Nelson made a choice to stand for the good of the people, putting themselves in harm’s way to provide eternal life and freedom for the masses. What choice will you make? Will you sell out like Adam and offer lip service to the cause or will you stand and fight no matter the consequences like Jesus and Nelson Mandela?
The choice is yours.
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead. — Nelson Mandela
Brandi N. Williams, APR is a fist-in-the air social activist, chair of the Hip Hop Caucus’ Charlotte Leadership Committee, chief engagement office and co-founder of the bridge public relations, a public relations firm focused on social good. As an Accredited and experienced public relations practitioner, bicentennial baby and hip-hop music lover, Brandi, also known as Mizz Bea, uses her nearly two decades of industry experience, knowledge and love of black culture and history to bridge the divide between the streets and the suites.Follow @mizzbea2u Friend me facebook.com/mizzbeapr