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It was a tough week for many of us, and we lost two giants in the civil rights movement over the weekend. This blog is dedicated to them both, as we must continue their incredible work, our children depend on it.
Remembering John Lewis, 1940-2020
John Lewis was the son of sharecroppers, and an apostle of nonviolence. He was a beacon and a voice in the never-ending fight for racial equality. He carried the mantle of moral authority in Congress.
President Obama, in a moving statement, let us know that he told Lewis that he “stood on his shoulders” when he was elected a US senator, and that he was only elected president because of the sacrifices he made.
At age 25, he helped lead a march for voting rights on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, where he and other protestors were met with fierce resistance. Heavily armed guards and local police attacked them with clubs, and Lewis ended up with a fractured skull. Images from that date helped galvanize support for the 1965 Voting Rights Act, signed into law.
In 2011, after more than 50 years of his life dedicated to the movement, America’s first Black President placed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on his neck.
Let’s recognize this King for not what he stood for but who he was. Let’s celebrate his life. And what a life it was.
In memoriam, the only thing for us to do after we have taken the time to mourn, is to pick up the baton he left in our hands and run the next lap. Lead from the front, like he did.
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
We should all continue to get in good trouble for what is right.
Rest In Power, Congressman John Lewis.
Remembering C.T. Vivian, 1924-2020
C.T. Vivian, minister, friend, and lieutenant of Martin Luther King Jr. was another major force in the civil rights movement. He worked alongside King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the struggle for racial equality.
He was a part of the Freedom Riders, alongside Lewis, who rode through southern states to ensure public facilities and bus systems were not segregated. In the late 1970s, he also founded an anti-racism organization that focused on monitoring the KKK. He described the process of the equal rights movements as:
- Creation of the new condition within the Black Community
- Inclusion of the Black middle class in the struggle.
- Bring about significant change in the values in the entire nation.
- Initiate a new method of social action – that of non-violence.
- There is no turning back.
With his passing of the torch, let’s remember his life, mourn, study his perspective from his book, “Black Power and the American Myth” (sold out) and when we are ready pick up the torch.
President Obama also awarded Vivian the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.