Throwback Thursday post to highlight the beautiful example of community WHA was proud to be a part of two weeks ago during Austin’s Mandela Day festivities. Mandela Day is celebrated around the world on the late South African President’s birthday. Much like the Martin Luther King holiday, it is considered a day for service and community-building. In Austin, we’re especially committed to this legacy and are honored to have a stretch of Cicero named after Nelson Mandela thanks to the efforts of State Representative LaShawn K Ford.

Rep. Ford came in advance of the holiday to help deliver a statue created by Geraldine McCullough to WHA’s Wellness Center. The statue, depicting Dr. King as an African chieftan, is a symbol of peace and the power of unity in overcoming struggle: “The statue symbolizes a struggle of what we can build when we come together. When we look at the lives of Mandela and King, we know they struggled. King went to jail in Alabama and was threatened with murder. These men lost their families. King died early. But their dreams still became realities.” — Founder and former CEO of WHA, Jacqueline Reed.

Other speakers, including Alderman Emma Mitts, State Representative Camille Lilly, and other community leaders,  shared their hopes for build a better Austin together – in the spirit of Nelson Mandela. The ceremony also included youth-led live music, traditional African dances and demonstrations. See pictures of the festivities taken by Charles Perry below and read more about the event in The Austin Weekly News.