Our hearts are heavy today as we join millions across the world in mourning the death of U.S. Rep. John Lewis — an iconic figure in the Civil Rights Movement, but an even better man. He leaves behind a life and legacy of peacefully fighting for racial justice, equality and humanity — sadly, causes that remain relevant at his death. While there are too many moments in his life’s work to draw from, it is this portion of his speech at the historic March on Washington in 1963 that serves as a haunting reminder of the work left unfinished.
“We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now! We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now. We do not want to go to jail. But we will go to jail if this is the price we must pay for love, brotherhood, and true peace.”
Today, I urge each of us to honor his legacy by reflecting on his work and becoming even more energized and focused on continuing the fight toward racial justice in America.
It is up to each of us to give life today to his words from nearly 60 years ago. And we must do that through our actions, not words.