Local leaders react to death of civil rights leader John Lewis

Posted at 10:46 AM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-18 17:42:04-04

Local leaders are remembering the life of Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights leader and activist, following his death at 80 years old.

Lewis served 17 terms in the House of Representatives and was one of the "Big Six" civil rights activists who organized the March on Washington in 1963, along with Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout his life, he received numerous awards for his work, including the Medal of Freedom in 2011.

"Rep. John Lewis was a fighter, a leader, and an American hero. He dedicated his life to the betterment of this country. I hope his example will be an inspiration for the next generation. May he rest in peace," Sen. Mark Warner said on Twitter.

"As we celebrate a life well lived--a life dedicated to causing 'good trouble,' we must step up and continue that legacy. To say it has been a privilege to serve in Congress with this American icon would be an understatement. We are forever indebted to John Lewis as a nation," Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02) tweeted.

"The Giant @repjohnlewis⁩ taught us how to get in #GoodTrouble in the fight for truth and justice. We are forever blessed by his extraordinary life, the eloquence of his example & the fact that God brought him by our way. His legacy will live on. Godspeed. Rest in Power," Virginia Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax tweeted.

"The world has lost a giant in John Lewis. His moral courage, his lifelong fight for justice, and his decades of public service have made our nation, and all of us, better. Let’s honor his memory by carrying on his life’s work — not just with words, but with action," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted.

Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement on Lewis's death:

“I am heartbroken by the passing of John Lewis. Words cannot properly convey the loss that this is for Congress as well as the nation. John was a guiding light to all of us and was a leader in trying to make America a more perfect union. His steadfast moral leadership will be deeply missed. I send my condolences to his family and to everyone who is saddened by this immense loss. We should all be sure to make some ‘good trouble’ to honor his enormous legacy.”

Rep. Rob Whitman (VA-01) released a statement regarding Lewis's death:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and colleague, Congressman John Lewis. John was a towering leader, both throughout his career in Washington and in his life as a Civil Rights leader. John served the people of Georgia in many ways, putting their best interests first in all he did in Congress. While our political leanings were opposed, we were united in our desire to serve all Americans. I will miss seeing John on the Floor and in the halls, and I send my deepest sympathies to the Lewis family. You remain in my prayers.”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria released the following statement on Lewis's death:

“It is with a heavy heart that I mourn the passing of the great Congressman John Lewis. Known as the 'conscience of Congress,' I admired that Representative Lewis always fought fearlessly for justice and his community. His legacy as both an activist and an elected official will be remembered by generations to come, and it was my honor to serve alongside him. We will all continue to cause 'good trouble' in his legacy. You will be missed, Congressman Lewis.”

Hampton University's President, Dr. William R. Harvey released the following statement on Lewis's legacy:

“To know him was to appreciate his life’s poignant example of moral courage and moral clarity,” said Dr. William R. Harvey who had the privilege of knowing this stalwart soldier during the deepest days of the civil rights movement. “John Lewis was an American hero who happened to be Black. I have known him since I was an undergraduate at Talladega College when he, at the time was studying at Fisk University. He was fearless and one of the bravest men that I have ever known. John was the type of individual who had personal and respectful relationships with many individuals, including those with whom he may have disagreed.”