SEIU Healthcare leader expresses condolences on the passing of Nelson Mandela

CHICAGO—Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, issued the following statement on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, an international icon of the human and civil rights struggle:

“The world today lost a true champion for peace in the passing of Nelson Mandela, the great anti-apartheid organizer, freedom fighter and the first Black president of South Africa.

“I never met Mr. Mandela, but I’ve had the privilege of speaking to many of his supporters on an SEIU trip to South Africa in 2010.  What an inspiration and role model he has been to me — from his early anti-apartheid legal and civil rights work to his many, many years in prison at Robben Island in South Africa.

“One of the high points of my life was visiting his home in Soweto and his cell at Robben Island. The struggle he led to defeat Apartheid should be an inspiration to us all.

“It is hard to think of anyone who made more of a sacrifice for freedom than Mr. Mandela. Those of us who fight daily for justice and equality continue to be energized by the legacy of Mr. Mandela and will truly miss him. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”