EDITOR’S NOTE: The impact of the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy last Tuesday was felt across the globe and in all corners of public life. Below are some of the many reactions to the news and remembrances of the late senator.
“Boston has never had a greater champion. Massachusetts has never known a more relentless fighter for economic and social justice. America has never witnessed a more influential and productive legislator.” — Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino
“The best tribute we could pay him is a renewed vigor in the fight to see his dreams realized. The world is going to miss Ted Kennedy. I already do.” — U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
“We will live into [Kennedy’s] legacy every day by carrying with us his boundless energy and eternal optimism.” — Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director, Health Care For All
“Senator Kennedy was a towering inspiration to all of us fighting for the rights and dignities of immigrants and refugees, and to all those who yearn for the warmth of liberty’s torch.” — Statement from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
“A motivating and dynamic presence in the U.S. Senate and around the globe, [Kennedy] fostered civilized debate in the Senate, promoted diversity in federal appointments and instilled hope in federal courts across this nation by his nomination of African Americans. He truly believed in equal justice for all Americans.” — Joyce London Alexander Ford, first African American female United States Magistrate Judge
“The world knows Ted Kennedy as an American patriot … But I will also remember his endearing personal gestures — from the call I received from him upon the inauguration of Barack Obama as president to his incessant teasing about me missing a flight because of my overly long introduction of him at my church many years ago.” — Charles Stith, African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University
“For so many of us in the Commonwealth and throughout this country, our cares were his concern. … He advocated, he demonstrated, he negotiated and he inspired. His voice will forever echo in our minds and hearts.” — Boston City Councilor-at-Large Sam Yoon
“We admired and loved [Kennedy] for his commitment to equality and to every victim of inequality and disparate treatment, his vigorous support of education for all and research to enhance our quality of life, his defense of the integrity of our environment, and his impassioned efforts … to build a world in which all human beings are secure and free to shape their own personal and social lives.” — Dr. J. Keith Motley, chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
“We will miss his humor, his strategic sensibility, and his ability to keep us moving forward whatever the obstacles. He taught us that the fate and possibilities of all of us are fully intertwined with the fate and possibilities of the least of us.” — Ali Noorani, executive director, National Immigration Forum, and former executive director, MIRA
“Despite his class, Senator Kennedy related to people of all classes, races and ages with ease. People of color and the poor have lost the only true fighter we had in Washington.” — Statement from the Union of Minority Neighborhoods
“[Kennedy’s] moral compass helped to guide this country toward addressing civil rights in hopes of bringing true substance to the American ideals of truth, justice and equality — for all.” — Karen Payne, president, Boston branch of the NAACP
“Kennedy, who fought to abolish racism and poverty, remained a symbol of hope for the underprivileged and impoverished people of this country … Kennedy was the closest we had to an abolitionist on the United States Senate.” — Boston City Councilor Charles C. Yancey
“At ABCD we have always called Senator Ted Kennedy the champion of the poor. And he fulfilled that description in every conceivable manner. … He has been the man ABCD turned to when times were tough and he always came through for us and for poor people across the nation.” — Statement from Action for Boston Community Development Inc.
“Those of us in the community health field cannot overstate the impact that Senator Kennedy had, and continues to have through his legacy, on health equity, disparities and access for those most in need. … Through his political action and personal support, his impact on Whittier Street Health Center is seen every day in the patients that come through our doors.” — Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO, Whittier Street Health Center
“In these past 50 years, no elected official has done more for the cause of civil rights, education, affordable housing, immigration reform, women’s rights and the rights of workers and their unions than Senator Kennedy.” — George Gresham, president, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.