Atlanta Tribute Event to Honor Legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Local Leaders Come Together to Promote Tutu’s Legacy of Reconciliation through Humanity

Leaders of Atlanta’s political, business, faith and academic communities will come together to honor the life, legacy and local impact of the iconic South African theologian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in a formal tribute held days before what would have been his 91st birthday October 7.

“Tutu Legacy Lives in Us” will be hosted by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Atlanta Tribute Committee Wed., Sept. 28, 10:00am at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Coca-Cola Stage at the Alliance Theatre. The group, consisting of a diverse mix of influential clergy, educators and corporate executives, hopes the event will keep Tutu’s commitment to restorative justice alive, inspiring healing, resolution and peace that leads to racial reconciliation in Atlanta and beyond.

“As a champion for peace and justice, it is no surprise Archbishop Tutu found a second home in Atlanta,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “I could not think of a more fitting place outside of South Africa to honor the legacy of such an extraordinary man with an unwavering moral compass than right here in the Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.”

The event will reflect and illuminate Archbishop Tutu’s human rights activism and transformational message of restorative social justice and reconciliation. It will feature musical performances from the world-renowned Ndlovu Youth Choir of South Africa and a line-up of dynamic speakers, including Ambassador Andrew Young, City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, former Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, E. Neville Isdell, and current presidents of Clark Atlanta and Emory universities. Bishop Michael Curry will conclude with a powerful call-to-action to take a collective pledge to realize Archbishop Tutu’s legacy of reconciliation and unity.

“Archbishop Tutu was a dear friend who taught us the power to heal and restore communities damaged by injustice and racism requires accountability and forgiveness,” said Carl Ware, retired Coca-Cola executive vice president and steering committee co-chair.

“In a time where we are divided as a nation, this tribute brings communities of all faiths and backgrounds together in an effort to continue the legacy of Archbishop Tutu and begin our path to reconciliation.”

Archbishop Tutu’s Connection to Atlanta

Archbishop Tutu made history with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola in the mid-80’s by persuading the company to divest its assets from South Africa until apartheid ended.

His connection to Atlanta continued at Emory University where he was a Visiting Professor at the Candler School of Theology from 1991-1992 and again from 1998-2000.

He also received honorary degrees from Emory, Clark Atlanta and Morehouse universities.

The Legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

A champion for justice, a promoter of peace, Archbishop Tutu’s transformative message taught nations how to heal their divisions through restorative social justice and reconciliation. The Nobel Prize Laureate’s courageous crusade helped bring down the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. It is how he united a fiercely divided South Africa in the aftermath of apartheid.

Archbishop Tutu died December 26, 2021, in Cape Town, South Africa at the age of 90. He left a legacy of healing messages rooted in the African concept of Ubuntu – that “your humanity is bound to my humanity.  What happens to one of us happens to all of us.”  In times of division, Tutu urged reconciliation as the only way forward. This tribute event is designed as an opportunity for the people of Atlanta – and across the nation – to keep Tutu’s legacy alive by pledging to pursue reconciliation in their communities.

Limited seats are available to attend the tribute event. For more information on the event, event tickets, to share your support and join the movement, visit

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