For three quarters of a century, Julian Bond marched in the vanguard of justice. Everywhere he led us, he lifted our spirits and raised our sights. He instigated and inspired—often in the same breath—and his legacy is a fairer, better world.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke often of the “beloved community,” and Julian was its foremost ambassador—from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to the Southern Poverty Law Center, from the floor of Georgia’s legislature to the rostrum of the NAACP.
In a life of extraordinary audacity and achievement, Julian united many voices clamoring against discrimination into a rising choir for equality—especially in his courageous, clarion call for the African American community to embrace the cause of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
I will miss Julian’s example, counsel, and friendship, but his righteous work—his spirit—carries on in each of us. My Ford Foundation colleagues and I will never forget his integrity, honesty, humility, and grace. His life’s purpose is with us still, and always.