When the 80- year-old diminutive man who was known as the “conscience of the Congress” died on Friday, July 17, the entire nation seemed grief stricken. Even if the country remains more polarized than ever before since the Civil War, few will disagree John Lewis was an American icon, who was one of the architects of the Civil Rights Movement. It is only natural that many Indian Americans — politicos, activists and ordinary citizens — took to social media platforms to pay tribute to the Georgia Democrat who “carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress.”
Here are a few tributes by people who had the good fortune of meeting with Rep. John Lewis:
Ro Khanna (Photo above)
U.S. Representative from California’s 17th congressional district
“It’s impossible to convey the power and magnitude of John Lewis. He was a beacon of wisdom, hope, and justice for our entire caucus and for our nation. There isn’t a member among us who wasn’t mentored by him in some way. It was an honor of a lifetime to have served alongside such a giant of American history.”
U.S. Representative for California’s 7th congressional district
“I join Americans across the country in mourning the death of Congressman John Lewis. An American icon and a beacon of justice and freedom, Congressman Lewis showed the world the power of “good trouble.” Our country is much better off because of his incredible life, and his legacy will forever echo throughout our history.
I was humbled to be able to call Congressman Lewis a colleague and a friend, and I was extremely honored to join him for the 2019 Civil Rights Pilgrimage in Selma alongside my wife Janine – a moment we will never forget.
My thoughts are with his family and all the lives he impacted.”
U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district
“America has lost a hero, a patriot, and most of all, a brave, kind man who devoted his life to justice. I’m proud to have been able to call John Lewis a colleague and a friend, but far more, I’m proud to live in an America he helped make possible. The progress our country made on civil rights in his lifetime is a testament to his leadership and those he partnered with and inspired in leading our country forward. John Lewis blessed America with his life’s work, and now we are entrusted with carrying that work forward.
On a personal note, John Lewis was very kind to my family during our visits with him, and he even visited Chicago to spend time with my constituents, supporters, and me. He was the same man in private that he was in public: thoughtful, affable, and incredibly generous in spirit. John Lewis is one for the ages.”
U.S. Representative for Washington’s 7th congressional district
“From a bridge in Selma to the halls of Congress, John Lewis was a true American hero who never stopped fighting for what is right. We must continue his march towards justice. We must make good trouble in his name. And we must never give up, never give in.”
United States Senator from California
“Congressman John Lewis was an American hero—a giant, whose shoulders upon many of us stand. Throughout his life, he showed unending courage, generosity, and love for our country.
As the son of sharecroppers in Alabama, John Lewis’ courage and vision placed him at the forefront of the civil rights movement. As the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, John Lewis knew the importance of bringing people together for an America that lives up to its ideals of liberty and equality for all.
It was an honor to once again join Congressman Lewis this year in Selma, Alabama in March for what would be his final walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where just 55 years ago, Lewis was among those beaten by state troopers as they bravely marched from Selma to Montgomery for the right to vote. I was moved by his words: ‘On this bridge, some of us gave a little blood to help redeem the soul of America. Our country is a better country. We are a better people, but we have still a distance to travel to go before we get there.’
We are grateful that John Lewis never lost sight of how great our country can be. He carried the baton of progress and justice to the very end. It now falls on us to pick it up and march on. We must never give up, never give in, and keep the faith.
I will always cherish the quiet conversations we shared together when he inspired me to fight for the ideals of our beloved country. My prayers are with John Lewis’ family, loved ones, and the nation as we grieve this tremendous loss.”
Srinivas Rao Preston Kulkarni
A candidate for United States Congress in Texas’s 22nd district in 2020
“John Lewis didn’t just talk the talk. He walked and bled for all of us. He went to jail so that others could be free. Congressman Lewis devoted his entire life to public service, fighting for equality for all. A hero in the truest sense of the word, his legacy will stand taller than any statue, and the greatest way to honor him is to keep up the fight. Rest in Power.”
DO, Pharm.D., MPP., Heron Therapeutics
“It was an inspirational meeting with Rep. Lewis and a great honor to have the opportunity to discuss the frontline opioid crisis in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016. RIP.”
Marshall Loeb Visiting Professor of Digital Innovation at Stony Brook University
“RIP, John Lewis. ? What a great life, and now, a great loss. A photo I took with him when we honored him at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) annual gala in Feb 2013.”
Co-chair of Chhaya Community Development Corporation
“As a kid, I watched PBS’s Eyes on the Prize and was inspired by this Freedom Rider who was the youngest of the 6 organizers on the March on Washington. I wondered why in school we did not learn about the Civil Rights leaders who lived. This Fourth of July, with the release of “John Lewis: Good Trouble” his remarkable life story finally got the much overdue attention it deserves. At 80, you’d say a life well lived but I feel it was still too soon.”
Former policy director to First Lady Michelle Obama
“Last time I met with Congressman Lewis, I was 8-months pregnant with Alana. He said, “I know you’ll raise her right.. but let her have fun too and get into good trouble.” I promised she would.
Congressman Lewis’ sacrifices and steadfast courage have inspired a generation of leaders, and I know his legacy will inspire many more to come.”
British-American actor and comedian
“A true American hero. Rest In Peace, John Lewis. #GoodTrouble“
Senior Congressional Correspondent at CNN
“Interviewing the late John Lewis on the steps of the Capitol last year. RIP to a civil rights icon — at United States Capitol.”