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champion (verb) fight in support of some issue, or of a person, or of a group of persons.
When you fight in support of an issue or of a particular class of people, their rights, etc., you champion the issue or the people. For example, a person fighting for women's rights champions women's rights. Abraham Lincoln championed the fair treatment of the blacks in the US; that is, he fought for their equality with the whites. One who champions reforms in society, struggles or campaigns for changes in the ways of the society.
- President John F. Kennedy was the first head of any state to champion consumer welfare and consumer rights. He must be given the credit for being the first to have laws protecting consumer rights enacted.
- Nelson Mandela championed the rights of the native black majority of South Africa, oppressed by the white minority rule.