Obama Remembers John Lewis

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Former President Barack Obama remembered civil rights icon John Lewis on Saturday, with a statement on Medium.

“I first met John when I was in law school, and I told him then that he was one of my heroes. Years later, when I was elected a U.S. Senator, I told him that I stood on his shoulders. When I was elected President of the United States, I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made.

“And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly.”

Lewis, leader of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma in 1965, was a symbol of the civil rights movement and advocated what he called “good trouble” in his call to activism.

He was a representative in the House for more 30 years, and was present when the first black president was inaugurated in 2009.

“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise,” Obama wrote. “And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”

It’s fitting that the last time John and I shared a public forum was at a virtual town hall with a gathering of young activists who were helping to lead this summer’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Afterwards, I spoke to him privately, and he could not have been prouder of their efforts — of a new generation standing up for freedom and equality, a new generation intent on voting and protecting the right to vote, a new generation running for political office. I told him that all those young people — of every race, from every background and gender and sexual orientation — they were his children. They had learned from his example, even if they didn’t know it. They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had heard of his courage only through history books.

See story at The Hill.

Again, the full statement at Medium.