It is with profound sadness that the NAB recognizes the passing of Congressman John Lewis on July 17, 2020. Throughout his life, from his humble beginnings as a sharecropper’s son, to his time organizing the Freedom Riders and speaking at the 1963 March on Washington, to his tenure in the House of Representatives, John Lewis embodied the ideals of inclusion and justice.
His legacy in public service is exceeded only by the personal stories many of his community members, allies, and even opponents can share about his incredible presence. He will forever be regarded as the ultimate statesman, caring and engaged, passionate and principled, knowledge about our past but hopeful about our future.
In his most recent memoir, he recalls the image of ringing phones—a reminder that we must answer the call to freedom and fight to bring it into existence for everyone, just as he dedicated his life to championing racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, disability rights, and many more causes. In the wake of his passing, let us all pledge to answer the call and to get in good trouble.
In the words of legendary advocate, politician, and Civil Rights icon John Lewis, “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.”