Nelson Mandela is 95 today, July 18th 2013
It’s obvious the contributions that Nelson Mandela has made to this world if you are above the age of 10 years old.
His legacy is taught in schools, and for many people in my generation, we watched the struggle from afar in South Africa when it hit it’s peak in the 1990’s. Often watching images on TV of the former government and citizens who supported Apartheid, struggling and fighting with those who opposed Apartheid.
When he was elected and negotiated the finality of Apartheid in South Africa, he became an awe inspiring person in my life. It helped me over come some of my own prejudices and enlightened me on social and political issues that I did not know much about at my young age. In 1994 I was about 17 years old. Which is exactly the year that I got a tattoo on my chest and foot that said S.P.E.A.R (Skins and Punks Everywhere Against Racism).
I think I can contribute some of my inspiration for this tattoo to the struggle of Nelson Mandela and the South African people. I had been living with and spending time with racist type of skinheads. But at this point when I got this tattoo, I had left those friends behind, and I made a firm stand against racism.
I am so blessed to have lived in such a time in the world that such events happened and that I was able to really connect to it.
Growing up in Utah and as a Mormon, I was highly influenced by racist religious doctrine.
I have made videos about this in the past, and I have strongly denounced Mormonism and racism in my life.
I don’t hate Mormonism, but I do think disagreement and even conflict can be useful and sometimes even helpful in times of injustice. For me it hasn’t won me many friends, especially with family. However I feel very good about making my stand and bringing up sore and often unspoken about issues in the LDS/Mormon culture.
This is one video that I made back in 2008. Shortly after my mother and father would get married in the LDS temple, and shortly before my father would die in 2008 and when my mother would ultimately disown me.
Speaking of my father, this is a video that I made to fight for a cause that I started before he died. He and I were friends and this is some of the time that we spent together in 2008:
I know many people who don’t know me well, will watch that and will be surprised. However, even though that is behind me in life, I think it is important to recognize it and discuss it.
Well I need to wrap this up, and contribute to one of my greatest hero’s Nelson Mandela. I don’t know where I will start, as we just moved to a new place. But I will see if there is something locally that I can have my family contribute to.
I am mostly broken after my car accident, so I can’t do much. But I think charity and local action is important, and I thank Mr. Nelson Mandela for this inspiration.
“To mark the former statesman’s 67 years as a lawyer, activist, prisoner and president, volunteers will spend 67 minutes renovating schools and orphanages, cleaning hospitals and distributing food to the poor.”