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In Memoriam – The Honorable John Lewis

February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020

Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.

— Representative John Lewis[1]

July 21, 2020 – Treatment Action Group (TAG) honors the titanic historic legacy and mourns the recent death of the Honorable John Lewis, U.S. Representative from the 5th Congressional district in Georgia and legendary civil rights leader.

From his youth in the 1950s leading early sit-ins to the Voting Rights Project through his election to Congress and throughout his decades there, Rep. Lewis put his body, his intellect, and his compassion for equity and equal rights to work for Black, LGBTQ, and all Americans.

At a moment of crisis among our nation and communities, our political leaders fail to adequately address a multitude of issues including COVID-19 and entrenched racism. But the shining legacy that Mr. Lewis leaves behind is a beacon to guide us to fulfill his vision for equity and justice in all aspects of American life.

His brave and selfless approach to confronting injustice through direct action continues to inspire principles, strategies, and tactics across present-day social movements. Mr. Lewis articulated and embodied a critical intersectional lens of racial justice in his life work. This lens is as important as ever in upending the HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and COVID-19 epidemics among vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Mr. Lewis’ passing in this moment of time is a clarion call to activists and advocates, that the work for racial and social equity cannot rest with him. All of us must take up the mantle and take action, that he shouldered throughout his life of service and impact.

As Mr. Lewis noted, “We do it not simply because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s love in action. That we love a country, we love a democratic society, and so we have to move our feet.”[2]

Rest in Power. Thank you, Mr. Lewis.

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[1] Lewis J. Across that bridge: life lessons and a vision for change. Hyperion; 2012.

[2] Tippett, K., 2013. John Lewis, Love In Action. [podcast] On Being. https://onbeing.org/programs/john-lewis-love-in-action-jan2017/  [Accessed 21 July 2020]

 

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