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Regional Reaction To Mandela's Death

Former South African President Nelson Mandela died Thursday at 95. There have been thousands of tributes in the hours since. Here are some remembrances from elected officials in our region:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

“Nelson Mandela refused to accept injustice, fought relentlessly for what was right, and showed that a dedicated person of courage actually can change the course of history. His struggle to end racism, poverty and inequality began with his fight against apartheid, continued through his service as the first black President of South Africa and is now passed on for the world to continue. We will not soon see again, nor should we ever forget the profound example of humanity that Nelson Mandela embodied. While President Mandela is no longer with us, here in New York and all around the globe, his legacy lives on. His family and friends, and the people of South Africa, are in my thoughts and prayers along with those of all New Yorkers.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:

“I join millions of people around the world in expressing my deep sadness over the passing of Nelson Mandela. His commitment to the cause of equal rights has long served as an international symbol of change and unity for people of all races and cultures. His fearless quest to establish democracy in South Africa will continue to inspire the American pursuit for equal justice under the law. Let us remember him today as a role model and a symbol of peace. My deepest sympathies go out to the Mandela family and countless others who were inspired and moved by Mandela throughout his life.”

New York Congressional Representative Nita Lowey:

“Today the world has lost one of the great defenders of human dignity. Nelson Mandela was a hero – not only to the people of South Africa, whose fate he helped reshape, but to all those who believe in equality, human rights, and freedom. The story of Nelson Mandela’s life was one of hope triumphing over despair; freedom conquering oppression; and reconciliation in the wake of bitter resentment. It is a story of setting a people free and of advancing freedom around the globe. It is a story we will not forget. As we mourn Nelson Mandela, I hope for comfort for his family, his loved ones, and the people of South Africa. I also hope that his message of freedom, non-violence and dialogue will live on for generations to come.”

New York Congressional Representative Sean Patrick Maloney:

“The world lost a selfless leader who spent his life fighting for justice. Madiba’s powerful legacy and shining example of courage and love will continue to inspire countless generations.”

New York State Senate Majority Co-Leader Dean Skelos:

"Nelson Mandela was recognized around the world as an enduring symbol of peace and freedom, and was an inspiration to everyone. He was a great humanitarian who persevered through great suffering to lead an historic revolution against racial oppression.  His passing today is a tremendous loss, but his legacy will always be remembered."

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick:

“The world lost an ambassador of peace, reconciliation and brotherly love today. Nelson Mandela was a remarkable and inspiring example of resilience, persistence, determination and grace, in his time and for all time. Diane and I send our deepest condolences to the people of South Africa.”

Massachusetts Congressional Representative Richard E. Neal:

"It is a sad day for the people of South Africa, and it is a sad day for good people around the world who believe in equality and basic human rights. Nelson Mandela was an inspirational, courageous and dignified leader who dedicated his life to ending the scourge of apartheid. He took extraordinary personal risks to bring peace and freedom to his homeland. He embraced Gandhi's non-violent methods of protest, and stood up against the forces of discrimination and prejudice in South Africa. And after spending 27 years in prison, he forgave his captors in a remarkable gesture of reconciliation. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Washington and it is a memory I will always treasure. President Mandela brought democracy to South Africa and set an example for all of us to follow. May he rest in peace."

Vermont US Senator Bernie Sanders:

“Nelson Mandela was one of the outstanding leaders of the 20th century. I am deeply saddened by his passing. In his native South Africa, he was a powerful force for good in the struggle to dismantle the terrible legacy of apartheid. Around the world, his lifelong devotion to equality and fairness serves as a lesson for all of us about the power of determination and the force of dignity. Like many in Vermont, I was active in the anti-apartheid movement. It was inspiring for me to be at Mandela’s presidential inauguration in 1994 and to witness first-hand a truly great figure at a pivotal point in history.”

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy:

“Nelson Mandela’s ‘long walk to freedom’ changed our world for the better.  The cause of his life became the world’s cause, and in 1987, the State of Connecticut joined him by banning state investments in companies that did business in South Africa in support of his mission of ending racial segregation policies. His reverent passion for justice will continue to inspire generations of citizens to improve social, political, racial, and humanitarian conditions around the world.  While the news of his passing is cause for sorrow, we should be forever grateful for his incomparable contribution to the cause for equality.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire:
“The world lost a remarkable leader today with the passing of Nelson Mandela. But because of his lifelong commitment to freedom and equality, the world is a better place. I’m saddened by his passing but know that his legacy will live on and continue to inspire future generations.”

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