July 23, 2020

John Robert Lewis
February 21,1940 - July 17, 2020

With heavy hearts, Community Teamwork mourns the passing of civil rights leader and longtime Georgia Congressman, John Robert Lewis. Lewis, who has often been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress”, served as a congressional representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his recent passing at the age of 80. In December of 2019, Lewis announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “ I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” Lewis fought courageously, as he always had, until his passing just a few days ago.

Congressman Lewis was active in the civil rights movement at a young age after being inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott as well as the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, which he had heard over the radio at that time. By the time he was 17 years old, Lewis had met Rosa Parks and shortly after the age of 18, Reverend King. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders. At the age of 23, Lewis was named one of the Big Six Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and was one of the architects and keynote speakers at the historic March on Washington in August of 1963.
Lewis fought feverishly for civil rights throughout the entirety of his life and never let his station or position change his core values. Even after becoming a Congressman, Lewis continued to hold sit-ins and attend protests for what he believed was right. Although he was arrested more than 40 times and endured physical attacks and injury, Lewis remained devoted to the philosophy of non-violence. John Lewis received multiple awards and honors including the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize in 1975, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2001, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Spingarn Medal in 2002. In 2011 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.

His memoirs include Walking with the Wind (1998; co-written with Michael D’Orso) and the March trilogy (2013, 2015, and 2016; all co-written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell), a graphic novel series for young adults based on Lewis’s experiences in the civil rights movement, for which he received the National Book Award (2016).

“We must never ever give up, or give in, or throw in the towel. We must continue to press on!
And be prepared to do what we can
to help educate people, to motivate people,
to inspire people to stay engaged, to stay involved
and to not lose their sense of hope.”
Today we remember John Robert Lewis… Husband, father, activist, freedom fighter. Today we remember and honor him for the impact he had in the fight for equality, not only in this country but across the world.

The Congressman’s moral compass always led him to fight for those marginalized, whether it be him marching for human rights, to sit-ins, or his advocacy for voting rights. John Lewis was driven by this philosophy as he frequently stated, “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” Community Teamwork will continue to get into “Good Trouble” walking within the path that he blazed for all of us.

We encourage you to watch “ John Lewis: Good Trouble”, the story of his life, the civil rights movement, and his impact on the citizens of America and policies towards equality.
Please watch John Lewis’ inspirational speech at March on Washington on August 28, 1963. https://youtu.be/tFs1eTsokJg
Please watch John Lewis’ the Note to Self on August 16, 2017 https://youtu.be/BlD2qsfiBrg
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