“The Conscious of the Congress”

Time Magazine Cover, August 2 to 18, 2020

This photo of John Lewis was one of his personal favorites. The photographer, Steve Schapiro, commented in the Time magazine issue that ‘It’s a picture of someone who knows who he is and what he has to do, and for the rest of his life; after this picture, he did it.” In the photo above John Lewis was a 23-year-old civil rights activist. The photo was taken in Clarksville, Mississippi with John’s permission. Schapiro, now age 85, remembers, “You see he’s looking forward with an enormous amount of strength, in terms of how he sees the future.”

Our country suffered a great loss with the death of Representative Lewis on July 17. On one of his last active days before he died at age 80 from pancreatic cancer, he visited the Black Lives Matter Mural painted on 16th street in Washington, D.C. “It’s very moving. Very moving. Impressive,” Lewis said. “I think the people in DC and around nation are sending a mightily powerful and strong message to the rest of the world that we will get there.”

For the civil rights of black Americans he was handcuffed more than 45 times and beaten. He believed that Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that was not impossible to obtain. He was a warrior against racial discrimination.

Representative Lewis was the first black American to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. “Lying in state” is a form of ceremonial tribute reserved for honoring the lives of the most prominent and distinguished American statesmen and military leaders.

May each of us carry on his work for freedom in the 1960s peaceful, non-violent ways of the civil rights movement. And Lord, it is said that he was respected and beloved on both sides of the aisle. Please give our Congressional Members a conscious such as Yours.

In his own words from June, 2018

“Do 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.”

Representative John Lewis

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