Rep John Lewis passed on Friday, July 17th , 2020 after bravely battling cancer. He lived a valiant, accomplished life, winning many fights on the streets and by lawmaking. He received worthy recognition awards for his fight to ensure all people are treated with respect and dignity.He was a resourceful lawmaker who began in the 5th congressional in Atlanta Ga 1986.
Announcing the passing, the family released a statement ; “it is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of US Rep John Lewis”.” he was honoured and respected as the conscience of the US congress, and an Icon of American History”,but we knew him as a loving father and brother.
March 7th, 1965 Lewis led 600 over Selma ,Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama in a non violent protest march, with desire for African Americans to exercise their constitutional rights to vote, and also highlight and condemn racial injustice and segregation repression. But despite their non violence protest, they were met by angry Alabama state troopers, who attacked the unarmed marchers with tear gas and hitting with batons. Many protesters including Lewis were severely beaten and injured. John Lewis Skull was fractured in the commotion. Boynton was beaten unconscious , Lynda Lowery, only 14 years at time, received seven stitches over her right eye and twenty-eight on back of her head. That day became known as “Bloody Sunday “.
The bridge was built in 1940 in honor of a confederate general Edmound Winston Pettus reportedly a” grand dragon of the ku klux klan”,which is why many are calling for the renaming of the bridge to honor Congressman man Lewis, “CONSCIENCE of CONGRESS“, who’s blood, sweat amongst other freedom protesters was splattered on that bridge on “Bloody Sunday”!
But many others including Lynda Lowery thinks its not a good idea to change name of the bridge.Some claim that only people of Selma should be allowed to decide such a sensitive matter.
I feel, if we are moving forward and taking down confederate statues and monuments and racists symbols that connected to Slavery, colonialism injustice and inequality, such as Gen Stonewall Jackson (Richmond VA)President Jefferson Davis (Kentucky) and Christopher Columbus, (Boston) renaming Edmund Pettus Bridge to Congressman John Lewis , a man who received in 2011 the highest honor given to a civilian, the President Medal of Freedom 🏅 is definitely best way to pay forward. More especially when it’s someone who dedicated almost his entire life towards fighting injustice , racism and defending rights and dignity of all people not just minorities and disadvantaged.
Lewis , the son of sharecroppers rose to become a formidable respected civil rights activist and a longtime US congressman.He was 21 years in 1961, when he joined the freedom riders bus in defense of integration of all races to public transportation. He was beaten , bloodied, arrested along with James Zwerg for daring to use “only white “,restrooms.
But for congressman John Lewis, Rev. Matin Luther King, Rev Jesse Jackson, Malcom X, Louis Farrakan and many freedom fighters, alive or gone, there will be no women voters today, and certainly our children will not be able to seat in same classrooms , or share public transportation, buses or airplanes. Can you imagine living in a world of such segregation repression ,hatred and racial inequality. ?
The voting rights act became law in August 6th, 1965.(one of the greatest accomplishments by freedom fighters like John Lewis.)
This is 2020, and we are still struggling with police brutality calling for defunding as a result, social injustice , racism issues leading to Black Life Matters demonstrations, and much more.If we are all in this together and want a better future we need to have a new reorientation and be more sensitive and kind to one another irrespective of class, color, age, sexual orientation, political affiliations, religious beliefs , cultural or ethnicity.
By Millicent Olaghere Blast.
Remember your Image matters , so live excellently!