What Marketing consultant John Lewis’s Dying Means To Black America

In 2017, I had the possibility to fulfill Rep. John Lewis on the commencement ceremony of the graduating class of Bard School. I stood side by side with the congressman, taking inside the second whereas at a lunch on the home of the college President. I stood shoulder to shoulder with an individual who not solely walked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and rallied for equality and justice all through a time I’ve solely study, nonetheless who humbly continued a fight lots greater than he.

His demise obtained right here as a shock to many, along with myself. Throughout the days which adopted, I could not help nonetheless think about what this loss means: how would, we as Black America, carry on his legacy? His braveness, dignity, resilience, and his unimaginable fight for equality for Black People will reside on inside the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. For me, his demise is a reminder that legacies are birthed to life by Rep. Lewis and quite a few others like him, made by the use of hopes and objectives which could be challenged by others.

What Representative John Lewis's Death Means To Black America
Courtesy of Nikkya Hargrove

Throughout the opening traces of his deal with to the graduating Class of 2017, he says, “That’s your day, benefit from it. Take in an prolonged deep breath and take all of it in, nonetheless tomorrow it’s important to be able to roll up your sleeves because of the world is prepared for presented ladies and men to steer it right into a larger place.”

His title to movement from three years up to now nonetheless holds as we communicate — the fight for a larger place is alive and correctly. That call to movement is never over, significantly not now. As we take a look on the ocean of faces and people, youthful and former, marching by the use of the streets stopping for justice and equality, it is proper right here that Rep. John Lewis’s legacy lives on. We should always get up every single day, reside inside the America we title home, and respect and love our brothers and sisters. Even on the instances when it seems unattainable, like after I actually really feel the urge to flee, pack up my family and switch to a spot the place people are revered, protected, and dealt with fairly. Nevertheless that’s my home, similar to it was for Rep. Lewis and his family.

What Representative John Lewis's Death Means To Black America
Courtesy of Nikkya Hargrove

For $300, Rep. Lewis’s father, a sharecropper, bought 110 acres of land in 1944, land his family nonetheless owns as we communicate. On the land, the family raised chickens, cotton, peanuts, corn, cows, and hogs. As a child, he wanted to evangelise the gospel and his solely congregation have been his cousins and the chickens he was charged with caring for. The land that his complete family cared for, beloved, and held onto for the earlier 75 years is a testament to what we should always proceed to do as Black America — stake declare to the land our ancestors helped assemble by looking for, dwelling on and sustaining land for generations to return – for the effectively being and wealth of our private households.

I can not flee my home or uproot my family in concern of our authorities, in concern of what my group might (or couldn’t) do in assist of hate. I would really like my kids significantly to have the power to tell the story that we waited it out, that we took up the reins and walked arm in arm in course of a larger tomorrow.

You will reside to tell the story. You’ll be able to do it. As you go in the marketplace, do your work. Certainly not become bitter or hostile. Certainly not get misplaced in a sea of despair; maintain the faith. Protect your eyes on the prize. Certainly not hate. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledged, and Rep. Lewis reminded us in 2017, “Hate is just too heavy a burden to bear.” All of us have a story to tell, and as soon as we face struggles — when hate meets us on the entryway, violating our hopes and objectives for a larger tomorrow — we should always remember that that is merely part of our story. And that we’re actively working to fluctuate the narrative.

What Representative John Lewis's Death Means To Black America: Congressman John Lewis
Jeff Hutchens/Getty

Dr. King moreover famously acknowledged that our foremothers and our forefathers might have come to this good land in a number of ships, nonetheless we’re all within the similar boat now, and we should always look out for each other. We’re one people, one family. All of us reside within the similar figurative dwelling … so we should always research to reside collectively.

On the hardest of days, I concern. The events after I be taught articles that maintain me up at night regarding the final moments of Breonna Taylor’s life, or contemplate what Botham Jean might want to have felt as he settled into consuming his bowl of ice cream and fulfilling in his personal residence sooner than being murdered by a cop. Or the priority which settled into the pit of Ahmaud Arbery’s stomach when he observed the gun aimed towards him — I concern. I concern about my safety, and my kids’, as I do know so a whole lot of my Black brothers and sisters do.

Nevertheless we have a mandate, to carry on the legacies of Black leaders like Rep. John Lewis, who obtained right here sooner than us and confirmed us by occasion and their untimely deaths, that our tales are perpetually linked — and the fight for a merely, sincere, and equal society is inside attain.

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