A Fitting Tribute

On Thursday I watched numerous cultural luminaries sing the praises of Congressman John Lewis during his funeral celebration at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. There were family, friends and past presidents including President Obama, each one speaking glowingly, but only one captured my interest so completely. Jamila Thompson, John Lewis’ Deputy Chief of Staff spoke so eloquently I needed to revisit her speech on YouTube.

Thank you Ms. Thompson, you did Mr. Lewis proud.

As a staff, we are heartbroken; we are lost, but we know that the work continues, the fight remains, and we cannot – we must not get lost in the sea of despair. So if asked how you may honor the congressman, I will echo the words of the greats who stood here before. You can make sure that his work, his sacrifice, his message lives on, and that there’re actions that every person can do regardless of their age or their station in life. Be kind, be mindful, recognize the dignity and the worth of every human being. Be the best version of yourself. Be informed, stay engaged, even though the work is hard. And, if you’re of age and eligible, for the love of God, please vote. Thank you.

Jamila Thompson
John Lewis’ Deputy Chief of Staff
30 July, 2020
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Atlanta, Georgia

Rest In Peace John Lewis

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

— Representative John Lewis
@repjohnlewis June 27,2018 on Twitter

“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”

— John Lewis

I started this spread thinking of my own mundane life goals when I heard of Representative John Lewis’s death. Just reflecting on his life goals is aspirational.

Drawn from a photo of John Lewis at the State of the Union address on February 12, 2013. Photograph by Pete Souza for the White House – labeled for noncommercial use.