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Standing on the shoulders of a giant: tribute to Nelson Mandela

Vincent Alvarez | 12/19/2013, 11:58 a.m.

Living in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others means ensuring the creation of good jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. Respecting and enhancing the freedom of others means to make sure that all children have the educational opportunities necessary to prepare them to excel in higher education and to compete in a global workforce.

Our fight is the continuation of Mandela’s fight. From South Africa to the South Bronx and downtown Brooklyn, we are determined to stand together to end these income disparities. We as New Yorkers are determined to see this fight through to the very end. We can draw inspiration and strength from the tenacity of Mandela, and we can join with this new group of advocates who are standing up for justice. The long-term growth and success of New York City and of our nation as a whole rests on our ability to meet the needs of our population. This battle for economic balance will be won because it must be won. Mandela’s legacy will never die because we are determined to keep it alive. His fight will live on through us.

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is manmade, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”—Nelson Mandela

Vincent Alvarez is the president of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which represents more than 300 unions and 1.3 million working men and women in New York City.