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Civil rights icon and LGBTI ally Julian Bond dies at 75

The co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center connected his work in the1960s for civil rights with the struggle for LGBTI equality

Civil rights icon and LGBTI ally Julian Bond dies at 75
Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Julian Bond, a former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, dies at 75

Julian Bond, a stalwart defender of civil rights, died today (15 August) at the age of 75.

‘With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement. ‘He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.’

Bond was a co-founder of the SPLC, serving as its president from 1971 to 1979. He also was a board member of the activist organization.

In the 1960s, when a student at Morehouse college, Bond helped form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Known as SNCC, the group was an important arm of the US civil rights movement.

In 1965, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. However, he was refused his seat because of his stance against the Vietnam War. The case made it to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor. He served the house from 1967 to 1975. He also sat in the Georgia Senate, from 1975 to 1986.

He was the former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

‘The grateful citizen heirs of the civil and human rights legacy of Julian Bond can neither be counted nor confined to a generation,’ NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock said in a statement. ‘Many of the most characteristically American freedoms enjoyed by so many Americans today were made real because of the lifelong sacrifice and service of Julian Bond.’

Bond never shied away from making the connection between the struggle in the 1960s to the fight for gay equality.

‘We ought to be happy that many people, including gays and lesbians…have imitated the black movement for human rights,’ Bond said in a 2012 March interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. ‘When others imitate what we did to gain their rights we ought to be first in line to say “can I help you.”‘

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the following:

‘Quite simply, this nation and this world are far better because of his life and commitment to equality for all people,’

Bond is survived by his second wife and five children.

Below is a clip of the CNN interview:


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