"The President hugs Rep. John Lewis on Saturday in Selma." White House photographer Pete Souza, Instagram, 2015
“Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.”
Representative John Lewis wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published on the day of his funeral.
The New York Times is publishing it today, on the day of his funeral.
"While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me."
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.
You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation
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