Monday, April 21, 2014

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City Joins Worldwide Nelson Mandela Day Celebration

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Several events across the city were held Thursday in honor of the 95th birthday of former South African president Nelson Mandela.

The ailing civil rights leader is still fighting a lung infection in a South African hospital.

People around the world and the city marked his birthday with an international day of service.

Activities included dance and poetry outside of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue.

UN workers also helped restore hurricane-damaged beaches in the Rockaways.

The UN General Assembly held a meeting with speakers including former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the man who was Mandela's cellmate in prison.

A video inspired by Mandela, "The Power Of Words," played for much of the day at the Times Square Visitor Center.

The video debuted during the Tribeca Film Festival in April on the famous giant screens at the crossroads of the world.

"The goal of this project is rally to highlight Nelson Mandela's words, we're going to create a short film series that takes five filmmakers and give them a quote of Nelson Mandela and think about the meaning of that quote," said Tamir Muhammad of the Tribeca Film Institute.

"The idea is not just to celebrate his birthday and he as a person, but actually to take in basically the mantle of his work, and to continue to think about how we can inspire change on a daily basis," said Sherry Dobbin of the Times Square Alliance.

The film is part of a larger initiative to create five original short films based on quotes from Mandela's teachings to be released over the next nine months.

"Where we are going to pair established filmmakers with emerging filmmakers who are all going to work with local boys and girls clubs to think about Nelson Mandela's legacy and also to think about the meaning behind those words, and turn that into modern day short stories, for generations to come to learn from," Muhammad added.

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