Cunningham announced that her office will place four condolence books throughout the district for those wishing to express their sympathies and or reflections about the late and great former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. In two weeks the books will be collected and turned over to the South African Embassy in New York.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to truly appreciate the triumphs of this truly great man and what he had to overcome to become not just the leader of an African nation, but symbol of hope and equality for the world,’’Cunningham said. “I believe that these books represent an opportunity for many to share their feelings of loss with South Africaand the Mandela family because they are not alone during this time. The world mourns with them.”
Mandela, who died last week at the age of 95, gained world acclaim in his struggles against the racist and dehumanizing government of South Africa, whose Apartheid policies treated black Africans as sub human and gave them very little rights. Mandela was jailed for 27 years for his efforts and didn’t gain his freedom until 1990 after world economic sanctions took hold in South Africa. In 1994 Mandela was elected South Africa’s first black president, a post he held for five years. However, despite his world acclaim as the man whose struggles and inspiration led to equal right for black and the end of Apartheid in south Africa, the United States didn’t remove him from the ‘terrorist list’ until 2008.
“The world rejoiced when Mandela was freed in 1990 and accepted him with open arms during his world tour, including his visit to New York City,” Cunningham said. “While the world has changed much since then, change overall is agonizingly slow when it comes to racism and it was shameful that 14 years after he was democratically elected as president in South Africa he was still on the terrorist list.”
The condolence books will be in each location for two weeks. On Dec. 23, Cunningham will personally deliver the books to the South African Embassy in New York.
Locations: Cunningham, 31 st Legislative District Office, 1738 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305; Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell, 31 st Legislative District Office, 447 Broadway, Bayonne, NJ 07002; the 31 st Legislative District Community Office, 301 Martin Luther King Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305, City of Jersey City Hall, 280 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302, and Jersey City Public Library, Main Library Branch, 472 Jersey Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07302.