Longtime democratic congressman and legendary leader in the civil rights movement, John Lewis, died on Friday. He was 80.
The news of Lewis's death comes just seven months after he was diagnosed with advanced Stage IV pancreatic cancer, which he vowed to battle just as intensely as he had against social injustice. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said about his diagnosis, adding: "I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”
Lewis devoted his life advocating for racial equality. Before entering Congress in the late '80s, he was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), protested to end Jim Crow laws, and was a keynote speaker at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. But it was after meeting Rosa Parks — who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man — he became inspired to develop his life's motto, "get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble."
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. #goodtrouble
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) June 27, 2018
Those words still ring true today for the next generation of civil activists, and to honor his legacy, celebrities, politicians, and world leaders are taking to social media to share their respects to the late legend.
Scroll below to read their tributes.
Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did:https://t.co/KbVfYt5CeQ
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 18, 2020
.@RepJohnLewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation. Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all. pic.twitter.com/xMbfAUhLUv
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Rest. In. Paradise John Lewis. #CivilRightsICON✊🏾 THANK YOU!! 🙏🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 18, 2020
John Lewis was the truest kind of patriot. He believed America could be better, even live up to its highest founding ideals of equality & liberty for all. He made good trouble to help us get there. Now it’s up to the rest of us to carry on his work. Rest in power, my friend. pic.twitter.com/a3gEAiMzp3
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 18, 2020
John Lewis was and will always be an American hero and champion for civil rights, who inspired us all to make good trouble in the fight for justice.
Rest in power, Rep. John Lewis.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 18, 2020
Martin Luther King III
John Lewis was an American treasure.
He gave a voice to the voiceless, and he reminded each of us that the most powerful nonviolent tool is the vote.
Our hearts feel empty without our friend, but we find comfort knowing that he is free at last.
— Martin Luther King III (@OfficialMLK3) July 18, 2020
John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. I'm devastated for his family, friends, staff—and all those whose lives he touched.
My friend, thank you for showing the world what #GoodTrouble looks like. pic.twitter.com/cvG8nSJCW5
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 18, 2020
Rep. John Lewis has passed. It is not enough to say he was a revered civil rights icon. He was a man of impeccable integrity who dedicated his life to fighting against racism, discrimination & injustice. John was a true leader who inspired us all to have the courage to fight.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) July 18, 2020
Rest in Heavenly peace Mr. John Lewis. Thank you for your service, for your committment to change and your courage. You did great with your time on this earth. "Goodnight sweet Prince. May flights of angels sing the to thy rest." And...pour some blessings on us down here 🙏🏿❤️ pic.twitter.com/9ZBSnLYmMa
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) July 18, 2020
.@repjohnlewis's courage and iconic leadership—in the civil rights movement and in the House—awakened the consciousness of our nation. It was an honor to serve with him.
Rest in power, John. Thanks for the good trouble. We'll carry on your legacy in our fight to end injustice. pic.twitter.com/N5qlfNxXfk
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) July 18, 2020
God has welcomed @repjohnlewis home. Defender of justice. Champion of right. Our conscience, he was a griot of this modern age, one who saw its hatred but fought ever towards the light. And never once did he begrudge sharing its beauty. I loved him & will miss him. #JohnLewis pic.twitter.com/XNbiEsClQl
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) July 18, 2020
Symone D. Sanders
John Lewis fought until the very end. We must honor his legacy by continuing to get in good trouble, necessary trouble. Rest in Power sir. ❤️✊🏾
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) July 18, 2020
Tiffany D. Cross
A torch bearer has passed. The torch has been passed. We don’t feel in no ways tired. Good trouble awaits. 🔥
— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) July 18, 2020