WASHINGTON, D.C. – At Congressman John Lewis’s last appearance in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the historic 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge—where state troopers launched a vicious attack on peaceful demonstrators that left him with a fractured skull,–– he returned to a message that he advocated for throughout his life, the power of the right to vote.
Already diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, John Lewis looked back on that day and said, “We were beaten, we were tear-gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and some way, God almighty helped me here.”
“I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to give in…We must go out and vote like we’ve never, ever voted before. We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America.”
As we enter an election season where voter suppression is increasingly used as a tool of white supremacy, bigotry, and prejudice, we draw inspiration from John Lewis’s life, and motivation from his tireless faith in the power of the people to defeat injustice. This November we will mobilize and vote as our lives depend on it, making “good trouble.”
NOW joins the call for the Edmund Pettus Bridge to be renamed in honor of John Lewis, and we also call on Congress to govern under the guidance of his principles and his example.
Our activists are dedicated to following in his footsteps – making sure we continue to advocate against racial injustice. We will work for a “real” civil rights act that goes beyond necessary police and law enforcement reforms and makes reparations that lead to racial and economic justice by supporting schools, job opportunities, access to housing and health care and so much more.
The legacy of John Lewis will never be forgotten – may he rest in power.