Democratic representative, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis has passed away after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer.
Last week Lewis was prematurely rumored to have died, but on Friday night House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi confirmed the news in a statement on her website.
“Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress,” she said.
“John Lewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation – from the determination with which he met discrimination at lunch counters and on Freedom Rides, to the courage he showed as a young man facing down violence and death on Edmund Pettus Bridge, to the moral leadership he brought to the Congress for more than 30 years.
“In the halls of the Capitol, he was fearless in his pursuit of a more perfect union, whether through his Voter Empowerment Act to defend the ballot, his leadership on the Equality Act to end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans or his work as a Senior Member of the Ways and Means Committee to ensure that we invest in what we value as a nation,” the speaker said.
“Every day of John Lewis’s life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all. As he declared 57 years ago during the March on Washington, standing in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial: ‘Our minds, souls, and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all the people.’ How fitting it is that even in the last weeks of his battle with cancer, John summoned the strength to visit the peaceful protests where the newest generation of Americans had poured into the streets to take up the unfinished work of racial justice. His visit with Mayor Bowser, the Mayor of Washington, painted an iconic picture of justice.
“In the Congress, John Lewis was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol. All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing. May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all to, in the face of injustice, make ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’” Pelosi said.
“God truly blessed America with the life and leadership of John Lewis. May it be a comfort to his son John-Miles, his entire family, Michael Collins and his entire staff that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time,” she said.
Though many of us disagree with the politics of Rep. Lewis, in particular his vendetta against President Donald Trump, the man fought hard for civil rights in the 1960s and was a champion for what he believed in.
In a lengthy statement on Medium, former President Obama used the death of Rep. Lewis to give “marching order.”
“Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise,” he said.
What “marching orders” means is something only he knows but it is a frightening statement from a former president as Antifa, Black Lives Matter and anarchist groups are literally marching in the streets, attacking police and committing murders.