Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the passing of civil rights icon and former State Rep. Dr. C.O. Simpkins:

“Louisiana and the nation have lost a civil rights icon and pioneer," said Gov. Edwards. “Devoted to rooting out injustice, Dr. Simpkins courageously stood up for what was right during some of the most difficult times in our state’s history.  He served his community admirably as a dentist, member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the United States Air Force, civic leader and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Despite being targeted for his work, he never wavered in his devotion to the fight for equality.  We are thankful for his contributions to our state and service to our people.  He will long be remembered.  Please join me and Donna in prayer for Dr. Simpkins’ wife Elaine, children, grandchildren, and other family members and friends.”

In honor of the passing of Dr. Simpkins, Gov. Edwards has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol.