Saturday, July 18, 2020
Civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis has died. As CNN reports, "John Robert Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman, has died after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 80."
We all are sad to lose a hero. I had the pleasure of meeting Congressman Lewis in 2016 when he visited UC Davis School of Law (housed in Martin Luther King Jr. Hall ) to deliver the keynote at the 2016 Commencement. He was sincere, decent, and giving. He delivered an inspiring speech to the law graduates to get into "good trouble" fighting for justice. And, I must add, Congressman Lewis sure knew how to tell a gripping and meaningful story.
Throughout his visit to UC Davis, Congressman Lewis generously gave his time talking with the students and their families. He also met with and inspired a group of alumni and shared his thoughts on civil rights, the Trump administration, and the continuing struggle for justice for all. I had the honor of showing Congressman Lewis the statue of Dr. King in the lobby of the law school. He spent almost an hour studying the statue, which includes depictions of many incredible moments in U.S. civil rights history.
As part of his civil rights advocacy, Lewis fought for rights of immigrants, challenging the Trump administration's policies (here and here) and even being arrested for civil disobedience at an immigration rally.
RIP John Lewis.