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Greenstein: To Honor John Lewis, We Must Pursue His Vision of a More Just America

CBPP Statement: July 18, 2020 - For Immediate Release

CBPP today released a statement from Robert Greenstein, president, on the death of Representative John Lewis:

All of humanity suffered a huge loss yesterday with the passing of one of the greatest Americans of my lifetime, John Lewis. I don’t have many personal heroes. But he was one of them and at the top of the list.

I first met John Lewis in 1976 at a small meeting of Southern anti-hunger advocates in Atlanta. I was amazed when he came to the meeting, and within seconds, you could feel the intensity of his passion and commitment. His ability to inspire others was profound. You virtually always felt it in his presence.

But he was not only an inspirational leader and visionary. He combined that with a focus on getting things done and securing badly needed change. He was dogged and determined and fought battle after battle, from the streets of Alabama to the halls of Congress. We at the Center were deeply honored to work with him on many policy battles over the years to secure changes to reduce poverty and expand opportunity and to combat regressive policies that would further widen income and racial divisions.

John Lewis’ passing comes at a time of both despair about conditions in our troubled country and hope for substantial change in the period ahead. John Lewis devoted his life, at times at tremendous personal risk, to securing changes to make our country a much more just one. There is no better way for us to honor him, his memory, and his legacy than for us to work as hard as we possibly can to bring John Lewis’ vision of what America can and should be much closer to fruition.