RIP: John Lewis

One of the greatest, bravest and kindest men to ever live passed away today: John Robert Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman, has died after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 80.

 

John R. Lewis, a civil rights leader who preached nonviolence while enduring beatings and jailings during seminal front-line confrontations of the 1960s and later spent more than three decades in Congress defending the crucial gains he had helped achieve for people of color, has died.

His death was announced in statements from his family and from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Advisers to senior Democratic leaders confirmed that he died July 17, but other details were not immediately available.

Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 29 and said he planned to continue working amid treatment. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said in a statement. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”

The best thing any of us can do to honor Lewis is to VOTE !!!!

The history of the right to vote in America is a history of conflict, of struggling for the right to vote.  Many people died trying to protect that right.   I was beaten, and jailed because I stood up for it.  For millions like me, the struggle for the right to vote is not mere history; it is experience.  We should not take a step backward with new poll taxes and voter ID laws and barriers to voting.  We must ensure every vote and every voter counts. 

The vote is the most powerful, non-violent tool we have in a democratic society.  We must not allow the power of the vote to be neutralized.  We must never go back. 

— John Lewis

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“…we were beaten, tear gassed, and trampled by horses. I thought I saw death. I thought I was going to die. I don’t know how I made it back, but I know we cannot rest. We cannot become weary. We must keep pushing and pulling and find a way to get in the way.”