Today the world mourns one of our greatest heroes.

Nelson Mandela died yesterday at the age of 95. Mandela’s fight against the awful system of apartheid in South Africa led to his 27-year imprisonment after which in 1994, he became the first black president of the country, helping to dismantle apartheid and inequality.

Mandela never gave in to the demons of revenge or resentment, choosing to use his time as president as well as his status to be a statesman for peace and equality for all, including lgbts.

The Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement:

Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters—and with all people—toward freedom. Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed. Mandela, who was South Africa’s first post-Apartheid president, was an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. He appointed an openly-gay judge to South Africa’s High Court of Appeal and during his presidency, South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination. Mandela will be remembered for his social justice activism and commitment to equality for all people.

While there is sadness over Mandela’s passing, I’m not really mourning. I never met him but I am so glad that he wasn’t taken from the world before he could fully impact it like other leaders such as John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mandela lived a long life and leaves a great legacy. And now he is at peace, taking his well-deserved rest. So while there is a void in our hearts, let there also be a bit of contentment and gladness. Let’s not waste so much time mourning the fact that Mandela is gone that we forget how thankful we should be that he was here in the first place.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding