Every year on July 18th, we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day. Mandela is known globally as one of the world’s most famous peacemakers. He spent 67 years as a freedom fighter, as well as becoming the first black president of South Africa. He was a legendary man who broke down 50 years of segregation through apartheid. We honor his legacy everyday, however here are a few ideas for how to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day this year. We want to encourage fighting for human rights in your own communities every day, but especially on this special day.
Why We Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day
The United Nations explains the simple message behind Mandela Day. “Everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better. If each one of us heeds the call, we simply need to do something good every day. This way, we can live out Nelson Mandela’s legacy. We can help build the country of our dreams.”
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
Honoring the Legacy of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela Day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. It was launched on his birthday, 18 July, in 2009. The United Nations chose to recognize Mandela’s call to action. His call is for every person, every day, to make the world a better place.
My family had the privilege of taking a trip to visit Nelson Mandela’s home in South Africa. Our tour included seeing the home he lived in as President, but we also visited the township of Soweto. We were able to see where he began his mission towards human rights and reconciliation. What a humbling sight to visit his home in person and see with our own eyes how much he truly sacrificed.
He was a man who made mistakes and had weaknesses, he is also a true hero. Mandela’s work directly impacts our lives as an interracial couple as well as how we raise our multiracial children. We were able to teach our daughter about the history of apartheid that had real application to our family. We feel that facing the hard issues of prejudice, racism, or just narrow-mindedness is key to raising kids to be globally minded.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. – Mark Twain
Giving Just 67 Minutes
Nelson Mandela made an impact fighting for human rights in his country, as well as globally, for 67 years. His life has been an inspiration to the world at large, and this year you can take part. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is asking you to dedicate just 67 minutes in taking action against poverty.
By dedicating 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service, you can stand in solidarity in the global fight for human rights. You do not have to be the president of a country to fight against poverty and promote peace. Take action, inspire change, make every day a Mandela Day.
“What an honor if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world, both to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation”. – Nelson Mandela
I recently interviewed an international human rights lawyer. She had phenomenal insight, and most importantly very practical advice for taking action for human rights in your own community. You can her inspirational story HERE.
Take Action through Social Media
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has stated that this year’s (2017) Nelson Mandela Day is dedicated to fighting poverty. You can make sustainable change as well as spreading the word about opportunities to help. Social media brings together grass-roots movements based on common interests.
This year, use the hashtags #actionagainstpoverty and #mandeladay to bring more visibility to your cause. A simple hashtag has great power, both to bring together other like-minded people, as well as to spread the movement.
Apartheid did not dissolve in a day. Influential people like Macklemore are writing songs dedicated to fighting for human rights. Mandela Day is a reminder that the fight against hatred and oppression, but also that taking action is not just for those who are famous. Each of us has a responsibility to fight for equality and democracy.
It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build. – Nelson Mandela
What are you doing to make the world a better place? What are you doing to make everyday a Mandela Day? We would love to hear what Nelson Mandela’s legacy means to you personally, as well as your family. Please share your stories below in the comments so that we may continue to learn and grow from your experiences.
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