Rep. John Lewis, who died on July 17, spent his life getting into what he called “good trouble.” A stalwart civil rights leader, he was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders and a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He helped organize the March on Washington, led demonstrations against racial segregation, and headed the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. People are sometimes surprised that Lewis—known as the “conscience of Congress”—cared about animal protection.
Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, has died at age 80. "He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America," his family said in a statement https://t.co/cYzFNFbmp4 pic.twitter.com/L4o3yA1S3R
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 18, 2020
Known for his electrifying speeches, he honed his oratory skills as a child by preaching to the chickens on his family’s farm—even holding weddings, baptisms, and funerals for his flock. “They never quite said ‘Amen,’ but they tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the Congress,” he joked in 2004.
Lewis never stopped working for civil rights, and he spoke out on other issues of justice, too. He called for people to defend animal rights in a statement for Earth Day and attended VegFest in Washington, D.C.
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic,” he tweeted in 2018. “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
In Lewis’ memory, may we all be inspired to be bold, speak out against injustice anywhere we find it, and get into some “good trouble.”