By EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
U.S. House of Representatives
The passing of John Lewis has forced me to take the opportunity to reflect on what being a Black member of Congress with him has meant to me – we are family.
We come from every part of the U.S. and most of us have not been lifelong friends. Some of us, who had participated in the political activities before being elected to Congress, had previously met. Some of us have supported and campaigned for each other before being elected. Some of us had even campaigned for opponents of each other before or during the election process, but when sworn into Congress, a special relationship ensues.
First of all, no matter where you reside in the U.S. there are many experiences we have already lived. Whether our constituents are poor, rich, majority minority or a small minority – we have a lot in common … we are Black in America.
We can communicate without saying a word to each other. We can read attitudes without speaking. We can communicate effectively with eye contact.
We are Black in America even when we are of mixed-race parentage or marriage; we find comfort among each other.
Often times, we share experiences that we do not share with our closest family members. It’s that common experience of sharing the heartbeat of the Nation that no other experience offers.
We work together, eat together, travel together, laugh together, cry together, fight together, worship together, pray together, work share together, plan together, hurt together, sit together, stick together and support and defend each other – even when we do not wholly agree.
We are family!
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.