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People For Mourns the Passing of Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier
Press Release
Press Department
People For the American Way
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Washington, DC — Today, People For the American Way extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of renowned actor, director and civil rights activist Sidney Poitier, who passed away today at the age of 94. Poitier is remembered as a trailblazer both in the entertainment industry as the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, and as a vocal proponent of the 1960’s civil rights movement.

Poitier was a force for change in film and American culture, using his decades-long career to break down barriers for Black entertainers and frequently challenging how Black characters were depicted on screen.

“To say we lost a giant in Sidney Poitier is a profound understatement,” said President of People For the American Way Ben Jealous. “He was courageous, gracious, commanding of respect and genuinely kind. Meeting him a decade ago, to present him with the Hall of Fame NAACP Image Award, was a moment I will never forget. Poitier had a profound impact on me and was a great inspiration to a generation of activists as he challenged stereotypical portrayals of Black men and committed himself to the art of raising standards with depictions of dignified characters. Poitier helped us reimagine culture and Black achievement in the fight for social justice and racial equality and his remarkable legacy will endure for decades to come as we continue our fight for justice in America.”

About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: