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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release November 16, 2000


Tipper and I were very saddened to hear that Dr. Hosea Williams has passed away. Thirty-five years ago, when he and John Lewis led the march from Selma to Montgomery, Hosea Williams moved our nation closer to the dream of racial equality and civil rights for all. On that "Bloody Sunday," the marchers endured brutal attacks by segregationists. But their courage and sacrifice inspired people across the land to support changes in the law that have helped to transform the lives of millions of Americans.

We have not reached all the goals set for us by Dr. Williams and Martin Luther King and other civil rights pioneers. We need to do more to achieve the kind of social and economic justice and equal opportunity for which they fought so hard. But in that struggle for justice, we continue to find inspiration in their devotion and their deeds. We are inspired, too, by the example of Dr. Williams' daughter, Elisabeth Williams-Omilami, who announced that she will lead her father's holiday charity dinners in Atlanta. Hosea's Feed the Hungry and Homeless project provides meals to tens of thousands of poor families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When those in power stood in Dr. Williams' way, he would sometimes dismiss their efforts by saying it was "just another attempt to silence Hosea Williams." His feisty spirit might be saying that now. But so long as the stories of Selma and countless other battles for civil rights are told, Hosea Williams will not be silent. His call to provide for the poor -- with food, with housing and with true and lasting justice -- will continue to be heard, loud and clear.

Tipper and I offer our prayers for the family of Hosea Williams. May God's mercy and their memories of Dr. Williams' many good deeds sustain them in this difficult time.