Texas Democrats on the passing of Civil Rights icon John Lewis
By GILBERTO HINOJOSA, CARLA BRAILEY, CHRIS HOLLINS, MIKE FLOYD and LEE FORBES
Texas Democratic Party
On Friday, the world lost two of its greatest giants, John Lewis and C.T. Vivian. John Lewis was everything that is good about this country and everything that we, as Texas Democrats, strive to be. John Lewis taught us that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how comfortable you are – if you possess true bravery, profound humanity and a willingness to sacrifice, you too can change the course of history.
Lewis was a profound man who lived an extraordinary, resilient life. A rebel and a changemaker, Lewis was the youngest leader at the historic march to Washington. He knew that with every step he took to challenge the status quo, his life would be filled, at times, with pain and anguish, but lived it every day with the joy, grace, and courage that some of us can only dream of. He went from getting beaten within an inch of his life in Selma to standing proudly watching the first African American in history get elected president of the United States. He went from being jailed over forty times fighting for the rights of himself and others to being the only elected official in America who could speak and have the entire world stop and listen. He went from being a pariah in the eyes of a segregated, racist south to being an icon for everybody, young and old. What a life he lived, what a life indeed.
When John Lewis marched in Selma, knowing that he was going to get beaten by billy clubs and facing near certain death, he changed the course of history. He taught us that although the arc of justice is long and sometimes winding, we must be unafraid, we must never cower, and we must never, ever give up hope. Today, we continue that march in lockstep with legends like John Lewis. We continue the fight for a peaceful world that features the racial and economic justice that he sacrificed his entire life for. We teach our children that true heroes exist and they don’t wear capes – they are men and women everywhere who possess bravery, commitment to righteous moral justice, and yes, cause a bit of good trouble, just like John Lewis.
Today, Texas Democrats continue the fight that John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, Rosa Parks, Ella Baker, Barbara Jordan and others started. From fighting for the fundamental right to vote safely to pushing every day for good jobs, expanded health care and a society that lives up to our ideals in racial and economic harmony, Texas Democrats are proud to stand on our heroes’ shoulders.
We continue this march to justice this November. In a moment where our nation feels driven apart and as divided as we’ve ever been, let us remember that people like John Lewis brought us together once and can bring us together again. We must never stop fighting for the justice and equality he sacrificed his entire life for. We will build the society he envisioned, and he’ll be watching down from the heavens smiling and laughing with other heroes and sheroes – Harriett Tubman, Dr. King, Rev. Vivian, Fannie Lou Hamer and all of the others when we do. It’s time for us all to come together and honor our heroes like John Lewis. It’s time for us to make our defining march towards November.
Gilberto Hinojosa is the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, for which Carla Brailey is the vice chair, Chris Hollins is the finance chair, Mike Floyd is the treasurer and Lee Forbes is the secretary.