Commentary: Julian Bond, an iconic jewel, will be sorely missed

Commentary: Julian Bond, an iconic jewel, will be sorely missed
August 20
00:00 2015

In above photo: Former NAACP chairman Julian Bond poses backstage at the 41st NAACP Image Awards on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Jennifer Farmer, Guest Columnist

The Southern Poverty Law Center today [Sunday, Aug. 16] announced that Mr. Horace Julian Bond succumbed to a brief illness on Saturday, August 15.

The national racial justice organization, Advancement Project, released the following statement regarding the passing of the long-time civil rights leader:

*Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis said: “A man of wisdom, courage and strong conviction, Mr. Bond was an iconic jewel who will be sorely missed. From co-founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Poverty Law Center, to serving as a state legislator in the Georgia State Senate and the Georgia House of Representatives, to his decade-long tenure at the helm of the NAACP, Mr. Bond was an impactful leader, educator and civil rights activist. While many were never his formal students at the many colleges and universities where he taught and lectured – Harvard, American University, Drexel, The University of Pennsylvania – we are all beneficiaries of his enduring lessons on organizing against injustice and structural racism.”

*Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair said: “As veteran civil rights attorneys committed to ensuring a more just democracy for all, we stood and stand in awe of Mr. Bond. In reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, I am reminded of Mr. Bond’s unyielding work to make American democracy live up to its promise. He was one of only a few voices in America who never wavered from that mission. Notably, his commitment to racial justice was not confined to the United States. Julian Bond championed the cause of oppressed people everywhere, including in South Africa, where he vocally opposed apartheid. He should be remembered as an internationalist, human rights activist and civil rights icon. And the nation should remember that we are heirs of his work, which is both our shared inheritance and our shared responsibility.”

*Advancement Project Managing Director and General Counsel Edward A. Hailes said: “In all respects, Julian Bond was legendary. In 1968, he was the youngest person, and the first African-American, to have his name placed into nomination for Vice President. He withdrew because he didn’t meet the constitutional requirement of being at least 35 years old. Regardless of the formal title he held, Julian Bond continued fighting for marginalized communities. It is on his shoulders that young leaders, who have ushered in unprecedented focus and attention on police interactions with communities of color, stand.”

*Advancement Project Managing Director for Communications Jennifer R. Farmer said: “Many people recognize Mr. Bond as a civil rights activist, but to me, he is revered as a strategic communicator, having served as communications director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and host of America’s Black Forum, one of the longest running syndicated television shows in history. To great effect, he used communications as an organizing and public education tool to highlight injustices, shift public opinion and secure important policy wins for communities of color. I’ve always believed communications professionals can deliver the impossible. Mr. Bond is case in point.”

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization.

Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

This commentary comes out of Washington, D.C.

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