John Lewis’ Final Words …

John Lewis knew he had few days left on this earth, and he left a powerful message to us all to be published on the day of his funeral, today.  I let his words speak for themselves …


John-Lewis

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

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. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. 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.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. 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.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. 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.

29 thoughts on “John Lewis’ Final Words …

  1. I just finished watching the Funeral of John Robert Lewis for 3 hours, 37 minutes and 17 seconds. I listened to the eloquent opening by the Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rev Raphael Warnock. Also President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi’s (at times near tears) heartfelt tribute and the beautiful eulogy by “Uncle Robert’s” 6th niece Sheila Lewis O’Brien, amongst other speakers and singers. The final eulogy was by President Barack Obama which showcased his magnificent oratorical prowess and a call to action for all of us. I was moved to tears more often than not, actually almost continually. This was a fitting sendoff to this outstanding man among men. If indeed there is the heaven that he so deeply believed in, one can only hope that he had a clear view today from a front row cloud there. John Robert Lewis was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things, though he thought them ordinary and doable by any of us. “I have done my best. That is about all the philosophy of living one needs.” – Lin Yutang. John Robert Lewis never gave less than his best. Rest in Power!! Thank-you for sharing his final words!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank YOU for your take on the funeral. I did not watch it, for I find it difficult to engage in a passive activity such as watching television for 3 minutes, let alone 3 hours, plus I knew it would be emotionally draining, something I cannot afford right now. I am going to look for a few clips later today, though, and I’ve seen snippets of Obama’s words, some of which apparently are being deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the right. Surprise, eh?

      Like

    • Thank you so much, Larry, for helping share Mr. Lewis’ words of wisdom! You’re right … everyone needs to read these words and remember the sacrifices John Lewis made in fighting for our freedoms. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing!.. There are elements of today’s society that prefer to “kick the can down the road” and not “step up to the plate” to help with change… I believe Mr. Lewis and Mr. Obama are trying to give us a message… “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ― (Barack Obama )… 🙂

    Hope all is well in your part of the universe and all your tomorrows are filled with happiness!.. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    #RestInPower, Sir … you shall be missed! The “CONSCIENCE of CONGRESS’ … “John Lewis knew he had few days left on this earth, and he left a powerful message to us all to be published on the day of his funeral, today. I let his words speak for themselves …”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I called him a giant the other day. I forgot he was also a man and as such lost men he knew and those he didn’t in the most horrific ways to those who called themselves men but weren’t. There is still a cadre of those beings around yet and John calls his troops to continue the fight until those creatures of hate can no longer get their way.
    It may not happen in my lifetime but you will know the difference when the Senators no longer try to pass bills which show POC to be less than whites and shouldn’t vote and people like Mitch McConnell no longer ride roughshoid over the entire opposing party.
    Bring Home MLK’s Dream AND the wishes of John Lewis and America will be truly free,
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • I doubt that it will happen in our lifetimes, and I wonder what it will take to make it happen at all. I might have expected the pandemic to bring us closer together, to help us realize that no one person is better than another, regardless of skin colour, religion, or other differences. But instead, at least in this country, it has only further divided us. Sigh. MKL, John Lewis, and so many others had a dream and I wonder if that dream can ever be realized, given the nature of humans?
      Cwtch Mawr

      Liked by 1 person

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