Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Statement on Passing of Nelson Mandela

December 5, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), who served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia with his wife, issued the following statement on the passing of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela:

“Nelson Mandela's passing is a time to mourn, but let us also celebrate the life and legacy of one of the most influential and selfless public leaders in modern times. By ending the brutal apartheid regime through a democratic process and by preventing a subsequent civil war through truth and reconciliation, Mandela showed us a way forward in countries subsumed by brutality and oppression. His work fighting poverty, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, and improving sanitation is also an inspiration.

“My wife Patti and I, along with then-Vice President Al Gore, had the honor of spending an evening with Mandela for a discussion centered around the role of women in modern South Africa. I knew then I was in the presence of a giant of our times and a hero to the world. If everyone strived to live a life as well-lived as Mandela’s, the world would be at peace.”

During their conversation with Mandela, he invited Peace Corps volunteers to come to Soweto as teachers.