“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just … you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
For most of his 80 years, Rep. John Robert Lewis has followed his own advice as an American politician and civil rights leader.
Late Friday night, it was reported that Lewis, after receiving treatment for cancer through hospice, ‘walked his last journey’ as he passed away.
Born in 1940, Lewis had served since 1987 in the U.S. House of Representative – representing the fifth congressional district of Georgia. In December of 2019, he made the announcement that he had been diagnosed with cancer – stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Known for his straight-out honesty, and his determination, Lewis said then that he was going to fight it, as “We still have many bridges to cross.”
Growing up in Alabama, Lewis was well-aware of hard work as he and his family worked as sharecroppers … and that ethic he gained as a child and teenager stayed with him through working with as a student at Fisk University, through working with the civil rights movement and until he took his last breath.
Lewis was one of many who were Freedom Riders in 1961, and as an organizer and marcher on bloody Sunday in Selma in a fight for voting rights. In 1963, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and four others, Lewis was an organizer and the youngest speaker on the March of Washington.
In his life, he had many chances to visit and speak to young and old alike, and he always encouraged those who listened to ‘get into good trouble’ by standing up for their rights, and the rights of others.
Much will be written, and has been written about John Lewis, and rightfully so.
His impact on all of us – even those of us who were not of his race – will forever be a positive.
Lewis was not about himself, but about helping others, and encouraged us all to do that as he led by example.
The quote at the beginning of this story, and the one below are two of my favorites. He encouraged us to be better today than we were yesterday.
‘You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have the courage .. raw courage.”
Rest in Peace, sir. Job well done.
(c)Photo From the Internet/NYTimesTheHillSun