Saturday, July 18, 2020

John Lewis, Congressman and Civil Rights Legend, Dies at 80

The Friday night hits keep coming -- and on the same day we got word that Justice Ruth Ginsburg is battling liver cancer.

The Washington Post reports that John R. Lewis, a civil rights leader who preached nonviolence while enduring beatings and jailings during seminal front-line confrontations of the 1960s and later spent more than three decades in Congress defending the crucial gains he had helped achieve, has died. He was 80.

His death was announced in statements from his family and from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Advisers to senior Democratic leaders confirmed that he died July 17, but other details were not immediately available. Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 29 and said he planned to continue working amid treatment. “I have been in some kind of fight -- for freedom, equality, basic human rights -- for nearly my entire life,” he said in a statement. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” (Keep reading his obit HERE.)

Reps. John Lewis (Georgia), Mervyn M. Dymally (California), Major Owens (New York), Floyd  Flake (New York) and William Gray (Pennsylvania) in a late '80s meeting.

I was fortunate enough to get to meet the man during my stint on Capitol Hill. The congressman for whom I interned, Rep. Major Owens of Brooklyn, was working on the Americans With Disabilities Act with fellow lawmakers Tony Coelho and Silvio Conte while I was onboard and calling to get cosponsors was one of my duties. Congressman Lewis was one of the many who said yes, as well as revered collaborator with our office. Shortly after I left they introduced the ADA on the same day Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin and Lowell Weicker did in the Senate and the rest is history.

Thank you for all you did in your lifetime. Your work will forever live on.

I hear he had five cats at home and 21 ferals under the porch, which tells me everything I need to know about the man. 😻

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