John Lewis was not only a Congressman, but he was a civil rights leader, who passed away on July 17th. Shortly before his death, he wrote a short essay that he wanted to be published on the day of his funeral. The New York Times published the essay as we are reminded of John Lewis's legacy. In his essay, he knew his days were coming to an end, but he wanted everyone to know how they inspired him by using their power to make a difference in society. He talks about how he visited Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington even though he was admitted to the hospital the following day, but he needed to witness the march himself. He said,
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. 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.
He proceeded to say that even though he isn't here with us right now, he still urges us to answer the highest calling of our hearts and stand up for what we believe in.
"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. 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."
You can read his entire essay here!