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The Voice of the Black Community
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Opinion

Honor John Lewis' legacy of civil rights activism by voting
Future of nation depends on participation
 
Published Thursday, August 13, 2020 11:09 pm
by James Ewers

FILE PHOTO
The best honor Americans can confer on the late civil rights champion John Lewis is exercising the right to vote.

I watched the homegoing services for John Lewis with both sadness and determination. Our nation has lost a civil rights icon.


John Lewis marched, was almost killed and jailed for wanting a better America. He wanted an America where all of us would be treated fairly. His America meant opportunities for all of us, not just some of us.


The boy from Troy lived for other people so that we could benefit from living in the greatest country in the world. At 23 years of age, he was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963. And at 25 years of age, he led the march from Selma to Montgomery. Lewis said at the March on Washington: “We do not want our freedom gradually, we want it now.”


One of the freedoms that became a hallmark and signature of John Lewis was the right to vote. Years later, our right to vote is still being called into question and marginalized.  The House of representatives has introduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.


As men and women of good will and right thinking, we can not let the memory and contributions of Congressman Lewis fade away. This struggle for fairness continues and this may still be the case after many of us are gone.


President Barack Obama used some of Second Corinthians, Chapter 4 in his eulogy of Lewis last week. This scripture says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”


“Progress is fragile, and democracy is not automatic,” Obama said. A consistent urging in each of his services was the importance of voting.


We must vote in record numbers on Nov. 3. Our friends, relatives and neighbors must join in this effort. Our constant hue and cry must be that we must vote.


We are marching and protesting now. However, these marches and protests must turn into votes. Yes, we must be relentless and tireless in our cause because the enemy wants to disrupt voting. We know who the enemy is.


Recently, the current administration floated the idea of postponing elections. This has never happened before in the history of our country. He believes he is the king and we are his subjects.


If we want a better America, then we must vote for a better America. Let us make America great again, just without him.


There are 90 days left before we cast our ballots for the next president of the United States of America and other offices. Four years ago, I realized that this election would be the most important election in my lifetime. This will be a defining moment for us.


Electing Obama was a proud and historic moment for America. We needed him. He was a visionary for our nation, and he had some sense. You and I know what we have now. We must show him the exit. My brothers and sisters of all stripes, we must get him out of the White House.


John Lewis has been laid to rest in Atlanta, yet his hopes and dreams are still with us. They will never leave us. We must pay him the highest honor by voting for a new America on Nov. 3. This America will enact laws that are fair and impartial.


This America will no longer give approval to police brutality and will no longer remain silent. John Lewis blazed the trail.


Now, we must follow it.

James Ewers, who lives in New Orleans, is a Johnson C. Smith University graduate.

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