Not even death can stop John Lewis from giving his heart and soul to the fight for equality and justice for all.
Civil Rights titan and Congressmember Lewis wrote an essay for the New York Times entitled “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation,” meant to be published today, the day of his funeral.
As Lewis’s body is being laid to rest at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, the spirited words in his essay urge us all to “answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.”
Lewis also writes about what and who ignited his journey into protest against injustice:
Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.
Lewis also shares the moment he first encountered the teachings and mission of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it affected him:
Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
To read Lewis’ essay in its entirety (or hear an audio reading of it), go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/opinion/john-lewis-civil-rights-america.html