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81-Year-Old Civil Rights Leader Points to God!

For more than five decades, Marie Ortiz has been a guardian for the underserved in her native city of New Orleans as a respected civil rights and community activist, saying, “I’ve given my all! Being honest. I really did serve New Orleans well.”

The 81-year-old still confronts injustice with conviction. Marie believes, “That’s what’s going to change everything--Love and forgiveness is a moral excellence! And if we get that in us to love and stop hating, we’re going to be a better people and God will bless us marvelously!”

Those same distinct principles that would serve Marie for a lifetime shaped her during childhood. She recalls, “Love and forgiveness! I watched my family do that when I was a little girl. It was instilled in me in that loving home that I was raised in. They fed the hungry. They housed people! I was brought up with that. It’s still with me and I’ll never give it up!”

Marie walked, prayed and marched with many renowned leaders of the Civil Rights movement. A few joining her family as her greatest influences, saying, “First of all, my mother and Coretta King! They believed things the way I did about the character, the personality and the love for mankind.”

The local civil rights icon and pastor remains hopeful and available to further social justice. Marie says, “I’m so encouraged! Even though you see protesters and all that going on--black and whites just coming together in love. People loving one another more than I ever seen when I was a child. “Walk in faith because without faith it is impossible to please God!”

Marie’s faith and activism brought her unique opportunities. In 1988, Marie met Pat Robertson, an aspiring presidential candidate, when their political contacts intersected in New Orleans. She remembers, “John Rondino was over Pat’s election and he called me up, knowing I was very popular in the city and asked me if I be the woman coordinator? I was elated because Pat was a Christian and he was speaking God stuff. They asked me to greet Pat and escort him into the luncheon they were having. And all of the other candidates were there. Pat Robertson, a presidential candidate. I said, ‘Pat Robinson is with God.’ I said, ‘He’s already a winner, he’s with Jesus. He’s just getting the message out.' I got my button!”

It got Marie even more! Introduced to CBN, she identified with their mission and message! Marie says, “Oh, I love The 700 Club! They take care of the poor. They do mission work. CBN is one of my homes! That’s my home--that’s a part of me!"

She partners with CBN, extending her life’s work in reaching the needs of others, saying, “Why not support something like that? Doing wonderful work! And they love Jesus! Helping people building houses and all that! Makes me feel good because when I see it on the TV, I say, ‘I’ve got my little dollar in there! It just blesses me!’”

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