As leaders of governments and human rights groups from all over the world prepare to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa next week, here is a proposal that would pay worthy tribute to his memory.
When the end of legalized-discrimination against LGBT people finally happens in America, and it will happen, the fight for equality in this county will not be finished.
Because of Nelson Mandela, South Africa became the first country in the world to include constitutional protection for same-gender-loving persons.
Though I had adopted the title of "African" American like most of my relations in the Diaspora, I was never more aware of how little I really knew about Africa and this African hero than I was on that day in 1990 he was freed from prison as the whole world watched.
If you're like most Americans, you know that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison and emerged without hatred to spearhead a peaceful transfer of power in South Africa. But you probably know nothing about the 1995 Rugby World Cup match.
Nelson Mandela's determination and steadfast commitment to equality remains an inspiration to activists and ordinary citizens the world over.
His work went beyond his people to all peoples, and beyond his country to every corner of the planet. If there is justice in this universe, in any form, Nelson Mandela will indeed rest in peace.
Life is a series of falls and rises, mountains and valleys, and pushing and pausing. And as Mandela has shown, our most important years and victories may occur when our hair is gray or gone.
Nelson Mandela wasn't a "personality" politician. He was the leader of a movement and a model for the world. We'll be learning from his example long after the eulogies have ended.
I had the honor of working with Madiba often during my time as co-chairman of the U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission. Each and every time I was with him, I was awed by his commanding yet graceful presence.
He has been such a forceful presence in our collective minds ... the liberator of South Africa, the global torchbearer for freedom and liberty, the moral conscience of a world plagued by intolerance and violence. Is there anybody of stature today who can carry his torch? Alas, nobody comes to mind.
Nelson Mandela deserves a place of honor with the dissidents and dreamers who knocked down the Berlin Wall and defeated the Soviet Union. And I am honored to have grown up watching it happen.
Mandela was a great comet of a man; we are not likely to see someone like him again anytime soon. He was a man who made a towering difference in history by the sheer force of his character.
Tata Madiba. Looking at how every single South African, of every age, income, race and creed has united to mourn for you and celebrate you, we can almost say that your walk has been completed. Rest in peace.
A great human being passes away, but he lives through his legacy of courage, integrity, compassion. I was one of the fortunate to have met Mandela on several occasions.
As I seated myself, I could hardly believe I was sitting across from the man who had almost single-handedly brought down the system of apartheid. Yet Mandela called me "Mister Carter."
As a child born and raised in Zimbabwe, I grew up hearing his name spoken and his story being shared almost every day. And 46 years later his legacy continues.
Every so often God chooses the best man for the job. Nelson Mandela was the right man at the right place and time in history. His legacy is secure as the man who broke the chains of Apartheid.