Photo: Rep. Lewis speaks in Selma, Alabama.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Hospice Action Network extend deepest sympathies to the family, friends, colleagues, and constituents of Representative John Lewis who died July 17, 2020 in Georgia at the age of 80.
Rep. Lewis was serving his 17th term in the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. He was a senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, and Chairman of its Subcommittee on Oversight. Recognized for his high ethical principles and commitment to human rights, he was considered by many to be the conscience of the United States Congress.
Born in Alabama in 1940, John Lewis was the son of sharecroppers who, as a young boy, was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. By the age of 23, Rep. Lewis was nationally recognized for his work on behalf of civil rights in America. He was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963. He was at the center of many seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, notably the March 7, 1965 march in Selma, Alabama. Throughout his life, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence.
Rep. Lewis was a graduate of Fisk University, and the American Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities throughout the United States.
“I had the honor of meeting Congressman Lewis in Selma, Alabama. Without saying a word, he commanded immediate respect. He deserved that respect. His were among the broadest shoulders on which we all stand in our collective efforts to make this a more just and equitable union. Even during these turbulent times, his passing reminds us of the need to keep working. It takes a village to improve our nation and our world, and unlikely light comes out of deep and troubling times. In the name of John Lewis, may we all rise, together, to create a more perfect union. May we take the peace that we crave at the end of life to create more peace and equality during life.” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. We will find a way to make a way out of no way.”
– John Lewis, 1940-2020
NHPCO and HAN honor Representative Lewis for the powerful legacy he leaves behind.