Lost in a sea of despair Without you here is unfair a nation mourns with grief beyond belief for our moral compass A man who encompassed Limitless optimism and hope The son of a sharecropper, With the soul of a preacher on a mission to liberate he felt the call to create freedom in our state without prejudice and hate Increase humanities scope And when that hate did not abate he would not be satiated or contented He would not take a back seat; he confronted a fleet of demons set loose while white hoods tightened their noose On his brothers and sisters Standing tall, sailing across a bridge named for a traitor who lost Whose descendants beat Lewis They could not cut through his Indomitable spirit His bravery, a light that shined To a nation in need of redesign In the struggle for equal rights for all those in sight he stood beside King listening in the wing. He then spoke words that demanded to sink in on the steps before Lincoln Lewis with a refined gate sang out a clarion call equality for one and all We can not wait For racism to recede He would not be defeated "until Revolution of 1776 is completed.” “Freedom is not a state; it is an act” that is a fact we show gratitude to liberty by standing with thee against those who seek A future most bleak Without our right to vote We cannot be quiet, we need to speak at this unique moment in time Bear witness to a crime when inequality is once again laid bare we know your memory will be there A light to guide our way When our children ask "What did you do, what did you say" We’ll reply, we stood on the shoulders Of what John Lewis achieved We voted, advocated, legislated and initiated change; that we were not subtle and that we got into "good trouble.”
The United States has lost a giant. Rep. John Lewis was a moral compass, someone who spent his entire career fighting for equality and justice. Losing such a clear voice and advocate for democracy and voting rights is heartbreaking.
If you’d like to learn more about Lewis’ life, I’d start with the excellent series of graphic novels that he wrote about his life. I used the second volume in my language arts class a few years ago, and my students were entranced by the story. This clip of him (which is making the rounds on twitter today) accepting an award for the series is incredibly powerful. His love for reading contrasted with his inability to get a library card is heartbreaking.
The poem was inspired by Lewis’ life and this list of quotes compiled from USAtoday. Let us continue to advocate for equality and the right to vote for all of our citizens. Call your senators and the senate majority leader and demand action on the Restore Voting Rights Act. It deserves consideration and to be heard. It deserves to a law.