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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’d like to honor another man who played an important role in the civil rights movement. Congressman John Lewis is a modern-day hero. Beaten nearly to death in Selma on Bloody Sunday in 1965, there are few people who have gone as far as John Lewis in risking his very life to advance the rights of his fellow men and women. Here are 10 John Lewis quotes to provide inspiration and reflection on this important day:
“Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?” – John Lewis, Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change
“I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.” – John Lewis, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement
“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” – John Lewis
“You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.” – John Lewis
“Our struggle is a struggle to redeem the soul of America. It’s not a struggle that lasts for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. It is the struggle of a lifetime, more than one lifetime.” – John Lewis
“It is my hope that people today will see that, in another time, in another period, when we saw the need for people to speak up, to organize, to mobilize, and to do something about injustice, we came together.” – John Lewis
“When people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and I will show you change.” – John Lewis
“We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.” – John Lewis
“If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take that long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.” – John Lewis
“We never gave up. We didn’t get lost in a sea of despair. We kept the faith. We kept pushing and pulling. We kept marching. And we made some progress.” – John Lewis
May today and every day allow us to reflect on civil rights, equality, how far we’ve come and all that is left to do.