It’s Time to Transform America
Representative John Lewis of Georgia, an icon of the struggle for civil rights, social justice and equality died in mid-July. He was called the “conscience of the Congress.” His passing evoked memories of the March on Washington and the bridge in Selma. And attention on the struggles today: the new Jim Crow, the Black Lives Matter movement and the widespread demonstrations protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In the tradition of his mentor Dr. King, John Lewis was dedicated to civil disobedience and non-violence. His words inspire us to engagement and peaceful resistance. When he gave the commencement address to Boston University graduates in 2018, he said, “My philosophy is simple. When you see something that is not fair, not right, not just, then you have a moral obligation to say something; to do something, stand up, speak out.”
Reverend William Barber chairs NAACP’s Legislative Political Action Committee. He co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign and serves as pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He is the author of Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner, is one of the 20th century’s most enduring figures. He advocated and practiced civil disobedience and non-violence. He said, “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.” He rose to national prominence during the epic Montgomery bus boycott and then went on to spearhead a movement which ended juridical apartheid in the U.S. He was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968.