The Center for Constitutional Rights mourns the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This towering leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement embodied the fierce, love-based, universalist fight for liberation with which our organization identifies. “He had a moral compass that was unflinching in its evaluation of comrades as well as foes,” said our board member, Gay McDougall, who met the Archbishop in the 1980s when she was assisting in the defense of political prisoners in South Africa. “And he never hesitated to speak out in clear words and a thunderous voice, as demanded by his values.”
Archbishop Tutu was for decades a beacon to people fighting for justice across the globe – and a palpable threat to their oppressors. In so many of the world’s most urgent struggles for peace and liberation, no one’s words and actions had more moral force, whether he was championing LGBTQIA+equality, opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, or condemning Israel’s occupation of Palestine, which he likened to apartheid in South Africa.
While no one can replace him, we should all strive to live up to his example.