At a time when race relations are challenging in America, we remember the late South African President Nelson who ended apartheid in which whites ruled over blacks and witnessed the birth of democracy and equality among all citizens.

The late leader was born on this date, July 18, 1918.

On his birthday, we want to bring your attention to Nelson Mandela International Day, which has enjoyed more than 10 years of global support and solidarity since it was launched by the United Nations in 2009.

This year the world is facing intersecting struggles and challenged, according to We are facing the Covid-19 pandemic that has led to many countries instituting lockdowns that have prevented people from engaging in income-generating activity. We have also seen global anti-racist protests, sparked by events in the United States, and, closer to Mandela’s home, gender-based violence continues to rock the nation.

There are few times in history that have called more urgently for solidarity and concerted efforts to take action against poverty and injustice.

In 2020 the Nelson Mandela Foundation is focusing its Mandela Day efforts on education and food and nutrition. The idea behind Mandela Day is to take action and inspire change.

Following are some suggestions for what you can do:

  • Put together stationery packs (pens, stickers, colored paper, scissors, etc.) for teachers at an under-resourced school.
  • Hold neighborhood clean-up armed with plastic gloves and black bags.
  • Make ‘care kits’ (including a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, etc. ) for clients at a nearby shelter.
  • .As an office, make sandwiches to give to people living on the street – and why not sit and have lunch with them while you’re at it?
  • Offer to read stories to children at a children’s home.
  • Learn First Aid.
  • Give blood.
  • Offer to mow the lawn and fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice.
  • Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
  • Clean up a city park.
  • Go on a social media fast for the day and make an effort to get to know people who you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to.
  • Offer to fix things at a local school or organization (paint, broken windows, etc).
  • Remove graffiti.

Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election,