In honor of Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday, Sunday was declared the very first Nelson Mandela International Day. Mandela was the first black president of a free South Africa after apartheid, and is a Nobel Peace Prize Award Winner. To commemorate his living legacy and 67 years in politics, devote 67 minutes of your day to service work.
- Last year, the United Nations declared that Nelson Mandela would be recognized every year on his birthday to commemorate his contributions to conflict resolution, improving race relations, and advocating human rights.
- Mandela was in jail for 27 years for resisting apartheid (segregationist) rule. After he was released in 1990, he was elected as South Africa's first black president in 1994.
- He stepped down from office in 1999, and is known around the world for promoting peace and fighting against racism and HIV/AIDS.
- To observe the holiday, people are encouraged to donate 67 minutes of their day to public service. Around the world, people have been feeding the homeless, volunteering in schools, and caring for the elderly.
- Volunteering in grand style, 30 people on bikes (including Morgan Freeman) went from Johannesburg to Cape Town, raising awareness and doing community service along the way. They worked at a community center for people with AIDS.
- In Sudan, there was a "Football for Peace" tournament. In Spain, there was a 6.7km charity walk.
- Mendela's wife said, "Today is an opportunity for millions of people around the world to look inside themselves and find those beautiful qualities as any human being has and say: 'I am able to make a difference to my neighbor, to someone underprivileged, I can extend my goodness to other people,'"
What can you do?
Okay, we noticed that we're a day late on this one (can you blame us for taking Sundays off?) but it is never ever the wrong time to do some service work.
Tune into the Do Something Awards tonight and cheer for Shakira, and Edward Norton. They're both United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors and nominees for awards.