Today, the Senate passed a Resolution—Prime Sponsored by Senator Perkins—that chronicles and celebrates the New York legacy of Nelson Mandela, specifically how his speech to the people of Harlem on June 22nd, 1990 was a source of inspiration that represented a commonality of struggle, singularity of hope and unity of cause in fighting racism and oppression the world over. The full text of the resolution can be found here.
On the Senate Floor, Senator Perkins delivered the following remarks:
“The importance of honoring and cherishing Nelson Mandela’s New York State roots is of paramount importance as we all seek to carry forth a flame of incandescent inspiration from the man’s singular earthly glow. That approach is best encapsulated in the following quote: ‘we fought injustice wherever we found it, no matter how large, or how small, and we fought injustice to preserve our own humanity.’
Guided by the City's first Black Mayor, David Dinkins, Mr. Mandela reached millions of New Yorkers on his inspirational journey. When Nelson Mandela visited New York it was homecoming of the highest order: one that spoke to so many spiritually, emotionally, socially and culturally. It is a moment that was born in time and born of the times surrounding it; and a moment of perpetuity that is handed down to each of us.
Nelson Mandela came to my neighborhood, to the cultural, political and geographic nexus of Harlem; he came to a specific place but his message was universal—it was message for each borough, for each county, for each person, for each of us that are a part of the Empire State.
The pride that I felt when Nelson Mandela visited New York is a pride that resonated from 125th Street and travelled to all corners of this State, as he spoke to everyone who has ever been a dreamer, an advocate, an organizer—to everyone who has ever put their principles first and to those who live every moment of their life imbued with the naturally incurable hope for a fairer and more equal tomorrow.”