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Metro Atlanta officials remember Nelson Mandela

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Metro Atlanta officials are remembering Nelson Mandela.  South Africa's first black president and a civil rights legend, Mandela died at the age of 95 on Thursday.

The following are statements released by local officials about Mandela's passing.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

"Today, we mourn the passing of a leader who was peerless in his sacrifice, courage and commitment to changing not only a nation, but the world. Nelson Mandela was truly a hero for the entire human race. As an undergraduate student at Howard University, I had the opportunity to meet President Mandela when he visited the campus in 1994. I was profoundly moved by his strength, dignity and grace. A photograph from that day hangs in my office; Mr. Mandela has been a constant source of inspiration for me and millions across the globe. We are all better because of the life he lived."

Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Julian Bond

"I am saddened to hear of the death of the great humanitarian and leader Nelson Mandela. He has been a transformative figure in the lives of people around the world. His stance against injustice and apartheid and his struggle to conquer this scourge changed the world and the course of human events. Rising from a prison cell on notorious Robben Island, a persecuted prisoner at the hands of a brutal regime, to become the transformative leader of a new nation was an unprecedented accomplishment. We will miss his physical presence but the lesson of Nelson Mandela's life and legacy will be with us always – paving the way for human dignity worldwide and teaching us how to love and respect one another."

Bernice King, chief executive officer of the King Center, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"I join with people of all races worldwide in mourning the death of this great lion of African liberation, but celebrating his magnificent life of service to the cause of freedom, human rights and justice for all humanity. Nelson Mandela's life and leadership exemplified the highest courage, dignity and dedication to human liberation. His name will always resonate in my heart, as it does in the hearts of millions of people all over the world. His death marks the end of an era, when leaders of unsurpassed courage and integrity walked among us."

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Nelson Mandela. His courage and perseverance reached beyond the boundaries of South Africa and served as an inspiration for the entire world."

FFulton County Chairman John Eaves

"We are deeply saddened by the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, a man of immense courage, integrity and passion for his beloved country.  The tremendous sacrifices he made to free all South Africans from the bondage of apartheid will be forever remembered and admired around the world, and especially by his friends here in the United States and in Fulton County.  

His place in history is secured by the dignity, grace and strength of character he displayed in the face of tyranny.  We are heartened by the fact that he lived to see his goals accomplished and his people free.  We are blessed to have had Nelson Mandela among us for the many years of life he was granted."

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga

"The world lost a selfless champion of freedom, democracy and equality today. Nelson Mandela's courage in the face of terrible injustice helped dismantle apartheid, and his determined leadership guided South Africa through a process of reconciliation that at one time seemed impossible.  Mandela's legacy will be one of dignity, forgiveness and a profound dedication to the principles that all free people hold dear. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa."

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)

"What impressed me most about Nelson Mandela was his humble spirit of forgiveness and love towards those who persecuted him. Neither angry nor vindictive, and with great courage and dignity, he endured 27 years in prison, sacrificing his liberty for the sake of all South Africans. Ultimately, he lived a life of triumph over evil and adversity, leaving the world a better place for his journey amongst us. The spirit of his life will remain in my heart as long as I live."

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