The death of former South African President and Nobel Prize Peace winner Nelson Mandela at age 95 last week resonated around the world as people reflected on his legacy.
His impact was felt by local leaders in Queens, some of whom met the influential leader.
Congressmember Gregory Meeks traveled to South Africa to attend Mandela’s memorial, which has held on Tuesday at Johannesburg’s FNB stadium.
“I will always cherish having met Nelson Mandela on several occasions — especially the laughter, stories, and insight he shared with me and other members of a congressional delegation during a wonderful lunch at his home,” said Meeks.
Following the memorial service, Meeks said “it was inspiring to see over 101 head of states come to memorialize a man who changed the course of history through his dedication focus and sacrifice. [And] to know that if one stands on high moral ground you can have people from all over the world come to salute you and aspire to achieve a more equal world no matter your race, religion, ethnicity or wealth.”
Reverend Floyd Flake, a former U.S. congressmember and senior pastor at the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, who also had the opportunity to meet Mandela, said “even in his jail time he stayed a force.”
“I think his legacy will be an empowering legacy and the legacy of a person who could have given up but did not” he said.
“The way his life has gone is of such a nature, people of such [different] persuasions, of all races, of all classes have come to love what he represents.”