Dear CSU Long Beach Community:
As I reflect on the loss of an extraordinary human and leader, I find it difficult to comprehend the scale and extent of transformational change Nelson Mandela brought to the world. The inheritance he leaves to us all will continue to shape world events for generations and generations to come. One has to marvel how, given the depth of societal racism, the years of confinement, and the pain he endured, he was able to rise again, forgive, love, and lead.
Similar to the passing of prior transformational leaders such as Jane Addams, Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King Jr., this loss calls for each of us to rise to the challenge and fight injustice in whatever form it hides. Fighting racism and inequity at any level is not an easy or painless duty, especially one in an environment where so many accept injustice as the norm. It is made more difficult in an environment where optimism is so low, and pain and suffering stares at us from every corner.
It is just at these times when social workers have always stepped up to the plate and led the relentless push for positive change; for equality, for justice. There is no profession more able or well placed to accept this challenge. Nelson Mandela was a person of dignity, courage, and strength. He also was an intentional and strategic leader, and we can all learn from his life. I believe as inheritors of his legacy we are all charged with continuing with work.