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Thu Jul 30, 2020, 04:35 PM

John Lewis's Letter To Us, Written For This Day


While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.



https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/opinion/john-lewis-civil-rights-america.html?fbclid=IwAR22geAr9nQay_KDOvaHijXFEccOoVA5HJbX54ta_RrR8WhDKBBM22FJsjA





8 replies, 1760 views

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Reply John Lewis's Letter To Us, Written For This Day (Original post)
ancianita Jul 2020 OP
still_one Jul 2020 #1
ancianita Jul 2020 #2
ismnotwasm Jul 2020 #3
godsentme Jul 2020 #4
ancianita Jul 2020 #5
CincyDem Jul 2020 #6
Gothmog Jul 2020 #7
ancianita Jul 2020 #8

Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 04:40 PM

1. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on

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Response to still_one (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 04:42 PM

2. And the spirit of his words.

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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 04:54 PM

3. K&R

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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 05:11 PM

4. Thank you

Thanks for posting John's beautiful letter.

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Response to godsentme (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 05:14 PM

5. It's my honor.



Welcome to DU.

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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 05:49 PM

6. Reminds me of 4/3/68.

"But it really doesnít matter with me now, because Iíve been to the mountaintop Ö Iíve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land".


Even to the end, his push to carry on and carry forward.

Such an inspiration and loss at the same time.

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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 05:58 PM

7. That was truly a great letter

Thank you for posting this

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 30, 2020, 06:04 PM

8. I feel the same way.

Thank you, too, for reading it and posting about it.

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