Civil Rights hero John Lewis on Election Day: ‘Friends of mine gave their lives’ for the right to vote
Georgia Rep. John Lewis has accomplished a lot in his more than 50 years as a political organizer-turned-Congressman, which is why his call to vote should not be taken lightly.
The United States is just four days away from possibly its most important presidential election ever, and Lewis is making sure that everyone understands the significance of casting a ballot, according to the Huffington Post.
Lewis took to his Twitter Thursday morning to share a message with his followers. “I’ve marched, protested, been beaten and arrested–all for the right to vote,” he said. “Friends of mine gave their lives. Honor their sacrifice. Vote.”
Along with these words, Lewis shared a photo of himself being hauled away by white police officers after being arrested during a demonstration in the 60s.
Lewis organized tirelessly for the Civil Rights Act — which outlaws racial, gendered, religious discrimination — and Voting Rights Act, which protected African Americans’ right to vote in every state in the union.
He recounted to Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman the events of the Bloody Sunday march, from Selma to Montgomery in 1965:
On March 7, 1965, a group of us attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to dramatize to the nation that people wanted to register to vote. One young African-American man had been shot and killed a few days earlier, in an adjoining county called Perry County—this is in the Black Belt of Alabama—the home county of Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., the home county of Mrs. Ralph Abernathy, the home county of Mrs. Andrew Young. And because of what happened to him, we made a decision to march …
And we got to the top of the bridge. We saw a sea of blue—Alabama state troopers—and we continued to walk. We came within hearing distance of the state troopers. And a man identified himself and said, “I’m Major John Cloud of the Alabama state troopers. This is an unlawful march. It will not be allowed to continue. I give you three minutes to disperse and return to your church.”
And one of the young people walking with me, leading the march, a man by the name of Hosea Williams, who was on the staff of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “Major, give us a moment to kneel and pray.” And the major said, “Troopers, advance!” And you saw these guys putting on their gas masks. They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks and bullwhips, trampling us with horses.
I’ve marched, protested, been beaten and arrested–all for the right to vote. Friends of mine gave their lives. Honor their sacrifice. Vote. pic.twitter.com/1lYp99RaOe
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) November 3, 2016
Lewis has firmly stood by the importance of voting, especially recalling his fight for that very right.