The following was submitted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Newport County Branch.
Countless people have stood on the shoulders of Cong. John Lewis and advanced their way in America without knowing anything about him, him, even his name. But, that would be just fine with John Lewis because he never sought personal credit for the things he did. No, it was always about the cause – the fulfillment of the American dream as laid out in our Constitution.
So, we mourn the loss of this eloquent, courageous, determined, and compassionate leader who dedicated his life to equality and justice for all of us. And, he was clear about this – we are allentitled in America to live in a free and just society…in America’s house as he described it.
The Newport County Branch – NAACP has had a very special fondness for Cong. John Lewis for many years. He visited Newport and cultivated warm relationships with several members thatwill always be cherished. The Branch presented him with a picture of “Newport Doors’ the lasttime he was here a few years ago.
We, at the Branch, will continue draw inspiration from the remarkable life that John Lewis lived, knowing full well that so many others share in these same, noble aspirations.
When we reflect on the life of Cong. Lewis, a civil and human rights giant, we realize that he was a humble person of profound faith who always treated others with fairness and respect. He was uncommonly patient, but ever persistent. He was the personification of the nonviolent advocate. He was also unwavering in his belief that one day we would live together in the Beloved Community that was espoused by his friend and mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We know that John Lewis was irrepressible in supporting our fundamental right to vote. His efforts have directly led to more people of color registering to vote and voting than any other person in our history. He once said, “My dear friends: Your vote is precious; almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”
We can best honor the memory of and legacy of Cong. Lewis, a truly great American, by voting in elections and by carrying the torch that he passed to treat each other with dignity, kindness, andconcern so that America can keep its promise to its citizens – equality and justice for all.
James I. Winters