I cannot imagine a world without John Lewis. I knew him first as a Civil Rights activist in the 1960s when I was in college, but I’ve known him longest as a congressman from our neighboring state of Georgia who for the past 33 years fought for social justice issues in the US House of Representatives. When John Lewis spoke, I listened. On July 17, 2020 his voice spoke for a final time as he drew his last breath, but his words will live on for me and countless others across the planet he loved.
Two of my favorite quotes from the 25 Best John Lewis quotes: “We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.”
“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
Then, this quote from a 2003 Op Ed by Congressman Lewis in the Boston Globe: “I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriages for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions and they stink of the same fear, hatred and intolerance I have known in racism and bigotry.”
From being beaten by police on Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965 to observing the creation of a Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D. C. near the White House in June of this year, John Lewis was a presence and driving force for good for more than 50 years. I truly cannot imagine a world without him.
“You must be able and prepared to give until you cannot give any more. We must use our time and our space on this little planet that we call Earth to make a lasting contribution, to leave it a little better than we found it, and now that need is greater than ever before.” (quote provided by Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post on June 10, 2020)
One of my father’s favorite biblical sayings was “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1) The name of Congressman John Robert Lewis who died yesterday at the age of 80 will be written in our American history as a good name, perhaps even an “exceptional” one according to remarks by former President Barack Obama as he remembered Lewis today.
I cannot imagine a world without the compassionate leadership of John Lewis, an American patriot. Your journey is over, John – your job was well done. Rest in peace.
Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned.