“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
As we remember the American hero, John Lewis, we have a duty to learn from his legacy and make the world a better place. Lewis, in this quote, is encouraging us to speak out against prejudice and discrimination, no matter the cost. Innocent bystanders will bring us further apart, and we will lose sympathy as well as empathy. Lewis was a great example of a courageous American, someone who did stand up despite the threats that he faced.
Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama on February 21, 1940. He began speaking up against segregation and intolerance as a teenager, particularly inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. At just 25 years old, he was badly injured after participating in a march across Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. The event is now known as “Bloody Sunday,” a day where thousands of civil rights activists were hit with clubs and bats. Lewis broke his skull and almost died as a result of fighting for equality.
Lewis didn’t stop there, eventually becoming an influential political figure. He served on Georgia’s House of Representatives for over three decades, and brought awareness to issues such as poverty, homelessness, and various forms of discrimination. In 2011, Obama awarded Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
What is remarkable to me is how he was able to forgive a KKK member who beat him up badly. Lewis told the man, “It is the power in the way of peace, the way of love. We must never, ever hate. The way of love is a better way."
Please share this story as a way to educate others on the remarkable life of Representative Lewis.
Credits- CNN Politics and Biography.com