Amsterdam News Staff

The death of civil rights activist and former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond left the world of activism and human rights with big shoes to fill. Bond worked not only for the rights of Black people but also for the rights of the working class and the underprivileged.

Several union leaders acknowledged as much when they praised Bond’s legacy.

George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU, in a statement, called Bond “a trailblazer who grew into a leader through the fight in the South for equal rights, to becoming a historic elected official in Georgia and the leader of the NAACP.” The statement continued, “Julian Bond embodied every part of our movement.”

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Vice President Diane Babineaux remarked that Bond’s numerous contributions can’t truly be measured.

“Julian Bond stands as one of the great civil rights leaders of our time,” said Babineaux in a statement. “His calm demeanor was unique during a turbulent time in our history. His influence on the progress towards true equality for everyone is immeasurable.”

Bond passed away last weekend at the age of 75, leaving behind 50 years of service to be examined and learned from. AFSCME President Lee Saunders suggested how Bond’s legacy will endure.

“Our world has lost a giant in the struggle for freedom and dignity for all people,” Saunders said. “Julian Bond leaves behind an enduring legacy both through the generations of activists who learned from his inspiration and guidance, and through the lives of millions of Americans who will grow up to raise their own children in a more equal society because of his work,”

Bond also went out of his way to share his knowledge and beliefs when he taught classes at institutions such as Harvard, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. Gresham noted Bond’s tendency to give back to as much as possible.

“He knew early on that sitting on the sidelines wasn’t a way to accomplish equality,” said Gresham. “You had to stand up, stand tall and never waver in what you believed in. We remember and honor his legacy by continuing the fight. From the beginning, starting the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, to boldly standing for peace against war and working tirelessly for full voting rights, Julian lived a life giving back to everyone around him. Everything he did was for justice, and that is a life we must all aspire to live.”