By The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The nation awakes to the overwhelmingly sad news that Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a champion for democracy and civil rights, has passed. The following is a statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
“From marching in the streets to fighting in the halls of Congress, John Lewis literally dedicated his life to the project of making American democracy stronger, more open and equal to all. Because of his sacrifice, Black people have had greater access to the ballot and have had the ability to serve in elected office at every level in our country. He was fearless, tireless and a dedicated voice of conscience for Congress and the nation. The world has lost one of its most enduring voices on civil and human rights.
“We honor the life of John Lewis by redoubling our work to restore the Voting Rights Act, a law achieved in part through the violence he endured in Selma, Alabama while peacefully marching for the right to vote. We also recommit ourselves to carrying forth Lewis’s legacy by fighting voter suppression and working to ensure that everyone has a voice in our democracy.”
In 2017, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law honored John Lewis with the organization’s highest award, its Robert F. Kennedy Justice Prize. While accepting the award, Congressman Lewis said, “When you see something that’s not right, not just, you have to stand up. You have to speak out. And you have to get in the way.”