“To those who have said, “Be patient and wait,” we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now! We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, “Be patient.” How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now. We do not want to go to jail. But we will go to jail if this is the price we must pay for love, brotherhood, and true peace” – John Lewis (“SPEECH AT THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON” (28 AUGUST 1963)
There are some unsung heroes and then there John Lewis. The United States Representative from 1986 until this death. A man who stood for the good fight to the bitter end. The civil rights leader, congressman and icon.
His resilience and moral compass have been with him all of his life. The determination to overcome the obstacles in society and make it better. Do the good trouble for cause of justice for all. A man who has inspired a generation and will continue to do so long after his gone.
I hope that I can just emulate a little of what he did. The way he stood for the good cause. The way in the midst of trouble, knew it was worth it. He called it good trouble. When the state has laws who undermines the public, who doesn’t serve the public, it’s your right to oppose it. Lewis have been arrested, belittled and hurt for the good causes.
He stood in it, together with the others leaders of the civil rights movement and part of the Big Six in the 1960s. John participated in the March on Washington in 1963 and the protest in Selma, Alabama in 1965, which was coined the Bloody Sunday. He lead up to 600 marches in that time.
“Yes, we have made some progress. We have come a distance. We are no longer met with bullwhips, fire hoses, and violence when we attempt to register and vote. But the sad fact is, the sad truth is discrimination still exists. And that is why we still need the Voting Rights Act. And we must not go back to the dark past. We cannot separate the debate today from our history and the past we have traveled. When we marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, it was dangerous. It was a matter of life and death. I was beaten. I had a concussion at the bridge. I almost died. I gave blood, but some of my colleagues gave their very lives” (John Lewis – ‘Rep. John Lewis Comments on Voting Rights Act Reauthorization’ 13.07.2006).
It’s with those kind of actions made him the hero he is. He was the main sponsor for 22 bills in Congress. Out of the 22 bills, there are 8 bills is in remembrance and commemoration of the Civil Rights and Civil Rights leaders.
The two latest enacted bills, which he was the main sponsor of was the Great American Outdoors Act and Taxpayers First Act. The first act was to secure funding for National Monuments, National Parks and the National Park Service, the back-log of lacking funds to be secured. The Taxpayers First Act was to modernize the IRS. Therefore, he did legislation for the betterment of society and remember the ones who fought for the good causes.
There will not be anyone like John Lewis, but we can work to emulate him. We can work for a better world. A world of justice for all. He fought for justice and against impunity. The Black Lives Matter is a “follow-up” to the likes Lewis. They are fighting for the same cause as Lewis was. Society have moved, but still there is battles ahead for all to get the same freedom. There are still mass-incarceration and police brutality against African-Americans. Which is something Lewis fought against, was arrested for and stood tall against the authorities.
That is why Lewis and his achievements are so important. His battles are not yet fought. The good trouble he got in the 1960s. Is still something we have to battle today in 2020. We still have to go against the systemic racism and against oppression of minorities. That shouldn’t be the case, but clearly the fight is not over.
The legacy Lewis leaves behind is a man of morals and conscience, which is needed. Who will fill the void? Who knows?
Hopefully, his speeches, his books and his life can be an inspiration for others. A man who stood in the midst of the Civil Rights era, a man who went on the front-line. Who became a representative and stood for the just cause to the bitter end. I just hope we emulate just a figment of what he stood for. So, we can together make a better world. If necessary join together in good trouble. To stand up to injustice in society.
If we only learn a little from this man and follows his example. We can make a better world. Where we fight against the ones who sponsor injustice and impunity against fellow citizens, because of their creed and colour, which is wrong by all means. Where we all should be equal and all equality before the law.
He has been on point all through his life and I’ll end with a statement on voter suppression in 2011:
“Mr. Speaker, voting rights are under attack in America. There is a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities, and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process. Voter ID laws are becoming all too common. But make no mistake, Voter ID laws are a poll tax. People who struggle to pay for basic necessities cannot afford a voter ID” (John Lewis – ‘Rep. John Lewis Condemns Voter Suppression In the U.S.’ 19.07.2011).
Rest In Peace John Lewis. Your legacy and achievements will life on. You will inspire generations to come. Peace.