The world lost a moral leader Friday with the passing of Congressman John Lewis. Lewis was more than a politician who served Georgia in the House of Representatives for 33 years; he was a paragon of strength, resilience, and honor and a role model for all groups fighting for equality and respect.
Growing up in Alabama, Lewis experienced segregation and racism firsthand. As a teenager, he met Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, learning their methods of peaceful resistance and steely resolve. Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders, a group of individuals working to integrate public transportation who regularly faced violence. He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and was a fixture at the Selma-to-Montgomery protest marches in Alabama that drew attention to Black disenfranchisement; he was among the dozens beaten by police officers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
Throughout the 1970s, Lewis worked to register Black people to vote and eventually took a job with the Carter administration. Lewis would be elected to the Atlanta City Council and finally elected to the House in 1986, representing Georgia's Fifth Congressional District.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ+ rights organization, honored Lewis's life of service with a video featuring some of his famous quotes. Speaking at a recent HRC event, Lewis would repeat his most iconic phrase: "Find a way to get in the way and to get in trouble; good trouble, necessary trouble."