Statement on the Passing of Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis, on the outside balcony of his office in the Cannon Building in Washington, DC on June 20, 2012.

On Friday, July 17, we lost one of the greatest heroes of our time, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis. Avis and I send our most heartful thoughts and prayers to the Lewis family.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Congressman John Lewis on October 29, 2017. Photo by Bryan Chan / LA County Board of Supervisors

In the face of the evils of segregation, his bravery and sacrifice as a young man, for years putting his body and freedom on the line as an activist, helped to change the world as we know it. While his journey may have become known to many on that fateful day on the Edmond Pettis bridge in Selma, Alabama, we pay homage and owe a debt of gratitude for his Freedom Rides, his words of inspiration during the March on Washington, and the carrying of Dr. King’s quest to build “the Beloved Community”—a world without poverty, racism or war—long thereafter.

John Lewis was the embodiment of hope and was rightfully our nation’s collective conscience during his 30-years of service. He will be remembered as a man of honor and a shining light no matter the pitch of darkness. We will hold true to his words, written just a few short years ago to ‘not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.’”

May he rest in power.