A call to action.
In his final hours, civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis penned one last love letter, reminding us that Together, [We} Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.
The letter was written during Lewis’ final hours on earth with the mandate to publish it on the day of his homegoing service. The civil rights titan passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 80. After a week of celebrations, which included a procession across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and three public memorials where his body lay in state, first in his hometown at the Capitol in Alabama, then at the U.S. Capitol where he served in Congress for the last 30+ years, and then back home to Atlanta, whose residents he served faithfully.
There aren’t enough words to describe a man of his stature. Someone who fought so valiantly for equality for all people and continued to do so until his dying day. In Lewis’ last letter, published in The New York Times, he reminds us of the moral obligation on each generation to fight for justice, the importance of knowing and understanding our history, the power of voting and participation in the democratic process, and what he refers to as “the more excellent way,” which is love and nonviolence.
“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,” Lewis wrote in his letter.
“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.”
Continuing with a call to action, Lewis went on to say, “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.”
To read the full letter published in The New York Times, click here.
May his indomitable spirit live through us all.