GCO reflects on the passing of Rep. John Lewis



By Georgia Center for Opportunity


The Georgia Center for Opportunity team was saddened to learn of the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis on July 17. Rep. Lewis served Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until the time of his passing this year. Rep. Lewis was a crucial figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s—during the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, he was beaten so badly by police that he was hospitalized.


Even though Rep. Lewis’ policy prescriptions did not always align with those of GCO, we commend his years of service fighting for equal justice and the chance for all Americans to thrive and prosper. Here are selected reflections from GCO staff members on the life and legacy of John Lewis.


Randy Hicks, president and CEO: “John Lewis was a warrior for justice, frequently calling America to live up to its lofty, well-articulated principles. We join with so many others across the state of Georgia and the country in mourning the loss of a man who committed his life to making America better.”


Joyce Mayberry, vice president of family formation: “The way civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis lived his life was the epitome of impact. He forever changed my life and the lives of so many others. While I never got the chance to personally thank him, hopefully my personal decision to serve my community daily is an action that would have received his approval. Rest in peace, sir.”


Buzz Brockway, vice president of public policy: “I am sad that John Lewis passed away. He had courage to stand for what he believed in, even when he knew he would be beaten and he was putting his life in jeopardy. It’s easy to say we have that kind of courage, but he proved it. I’m glad I got the chance to shake his hand. Prayers for his family and friends.”


Jamie Lord, director of government affairs: I met John Lewis only once. Though shorter in stature, he loomed large. He was a sort of North Star in the moral quest for justice and equality. Before he was even born, I bought my son Congressman Lewis’ graphic memoir, March. I can only hope Lewis’ story helps inspire my son as it has inspired me. I hope he comes to live, as Lewis did, demonstrating a love of others, a commitment to justice and the bravery to put his very life on the line standing up for what is right. He really was one of the best of us and even in his passing he challenges me to be better, to do more.”

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