WASHINGTON — Following are statements from Asian Pacific American members of Congress on the death of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela on Thursday at the age of 95.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “The global community lost a giant today. Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. Thank you for all you did to advance human rights and racial harmony. You were an inspiration.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “I am saddened to hear of the passing of Nelson Mandela, who was a symbol of courage as well as a statesman who helped guide South Africa toward equality. I join the many who have been inspired by President Mandela’s quiet dignity and deep commitment to the cause of equality around the world. His path to influence was not easy, but he assumed power without rancor or bitterness and changed the direction of his nation. I hope he will be the model for many, many more leaders in the years to come.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “We all have lost a great leader today. Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela.”
Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose): “‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ We will miss you, ‘Madiba’ Nelson Mandela.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “Today I join Americans across the country and people around the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela. Long an advocate for achieving freedom through non-violence and peace, Mandela set a country free and inspired the world.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Mandela’s family, friends and loved ones as they mourn the loss of this extraordinary man. There is no question his legacy will live on for generations in those whose lives he touched, and the millions he continues to inspire.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Rancho Cordova): “Just heard the news Nelson Mandela died. We have lost an inspirational leader who taught us a lot about reconciliation. Hopefully we can continue to learn from his example as we move forward in our own lives and struggles.”
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “We lost a giant today. Farewell, President Nelson Mandela. Thank you for making this imperfect world a better place.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “Nelson Mandela is a hero for delivering freedom to millions of South Africans. But his greatest legacy will be what he did next. With great moral courage, he chose reconciliation over reprisal, forgiveness over spite, love over hate. In so doing, he built a South Africa for all, enshrined by one of the most just, fairest, and progressive constitutions in the world. The result is a democratic South Africa that is building bridges in its own land and throughout Africa.
“Mr. Mandela has inspired me in my public life to offer a voice for the voiceless, and keep faith that the human race can always overcome that which divides it.
“I extend my deepest sympathies today to the people of South Africa, who have all lost a father.”
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): “With the passing of Nelson Mandela, the world has lost one of its most unwavering advocates for freedom, democracy, and equality. His life and legacy will always be a source of inspiration for all who seek freedom’s embrace. My thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family and the people of South Africa.”
Mee Moua, president and executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, added, “Nelson Mandela is ‘Tata’ (father) to South Africa and to so many movements born of his legacy. Last year, I joined other practitioners in the racial equity movement on a visit to South Africa, and our trip to Robben Island served as a powerful reminder of President Mandela’s legacy — a confined body does not constrain the spirit that seeks to rise above hate and ignorance through hope and determination.
“Rest in peace, Tata.”