Tag Archive for John Lewis

VNV Tuesday – Privilege and Allyship: A Call for Introspection 4/10/18

James Zwerg: Ally, Freedom Rider

I’ve been grappling with the issues of privilege and effective allyship lately. Some of this has been prompted by my reading about the Movement; some of it by the Parkland students; and some of it by a survey I recently had to complete for an organization that asked, “Are you willing to engage in civil disobedience?” After some reflection, I realized my truly honest answer to the question was, “no” and that saddened me about myself. This post isn’t going to focus on my personal efforts to reconcile my ideals and my actions; it instead is going to highlight the actions of one ally as a means to encourage personal reflection and introspection.

Fighting Back: John Lewis – “Speak up and speak out in the face of injustice”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

(Congressman John Lewis of Georgia delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Lewis commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by reminding Americans to commit themselves to standing up in the face of injustice. )
Rep. Lewis:

“In the past 50 years, as a nation and as a people, we have made progress. But there are new forces trying to take us back, trying to turn back the clock, trying to take us to a darker time.

“Times like these can seem overwhelming, but I ask you to recommit yourself to the way of love, the way of peace, and the way of nonviolence.

“I ask you to look in your heart and to trust that justice will prevail.

“If Dr. King were with us today, he would continue to push our country to respect the dignity and the worth of every human being – no matter where they are born, no matter their race, age, religion, or gender identity.

“He would argue that we have a right to know what is in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

“He would preach that we have a mission, an obligation, and a mandate to leave this country and this little planet a little cleaner, a little greener, and a little more peaceful for generations yet unborn.

“Most importantly, if Dr. King were alive, he would ask each of us to speak up, to speak out in the face of injustice, and he would demand that each and every one of us to do our part and do it well.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “We shall always march ahead, we cannot turn back”

The day set aside to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is a good day to reflect on the power of resistance, the power of peaceful demonstration, the power of We The People insisting that our government reflects our values and addresses our needs.

Last year, the Holiday Proclamation was written and signed by President Barack Obama, the first black president, and was marked with a speech by then Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the first black woman attorney general.

Today is about them – and tomorrow will be about them and every tomorrow will be about them until that day when our government once again reflects the values of her citizens.

On August 28, 1963 a quarter of a million people gathered to support civil rights, and share Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality.

Dr. King:

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.[…]

With [our] faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Full transcript below along with a video of John Lewis, President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation for the final Martin Luther King Day holiday of his presidency, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s speech in Birmingham.

Fighting Back: John Lewis on Gun Violence – “What will it take for the Republican Congress to wake up?”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

(Congressman John Lewis has been leading the charge for change for decades. Now, he wants Congress to do the same by taking action to end gun violence.)

Rep. Lewis:

“What will it take for the Republican Congress to wake up? They hold moments of silence and vigils. They offer thoughts and prayers but they do nothing. And when the media moves on, they peddle the lie that we need more guns to stop violence and they try to roll back protections that keep our communities safe.”[…]

“Republicans have not lifted a finger. They have not done one single thing to combat this crisis and worse they are refusing to even begin a bipartisan process to address the gun violence epidemic.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Fighting Back: Rep. John Lewis: “I will fight any bill that turns the clock back to a darker time.”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

Found on the Internets

In a floor speech yesterday in opposition to the Republican Party’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) spoke of health care as a right not a privilege – and vowed to fight any repeal.

Rep. Lewis, rising:

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend for yielding. Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this bill.

As elected representatives, we have a mission, an obligation, and a mandate to fight for each and every American. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, who will stand for the American people? Who will speak up for those who have been left out and left behind?

Mr. Speaker, I have said it time and time again — health care is a right. It is not a privilege reserved for a wealthy few. For what does it profit this body to pass this bill and lose our soul? This bill is a shame. It is a disgrace.

Mr. Speaker, today my heart breaks for the disabled, for women, for seniors, and working families. My heart aches for those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. My heart mourns for innocent, little children whose very life depends on if their families can pay the bills. This is the right and wrong of it. This is the heart and soul of the matter. We cannot abandon our principles. Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget our values.

I have fought too hard and too long to back down now. I will fight any bill that turns the clock back to a darker time. I will fight every single attempt to turn a deaf ear, a blind eye, and a cold shoulder to the sick, to our seniors, and to working families. Mr. Speaker, I will fight every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. I will oppose this bill with every breath and every bone in my body.

We must not give up. We cannot – I will not — give in. Not today, not tomorrow, and never ever. On this bill, there is only one option – and that option is to vote NO. You can do better. Mr. Speaker, you must do better. Vote no on this bill!

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “We shall always march ahead, we cannot turn back”

Today, the day set aside to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, is a good day to reflect on the power of resistance, the power of peaceful demonstration, the power of We The People to insist that our government reflects our values and addresses our needs.

On August 28, 1963 a quarter of a million people gathered to support civil rights, and share Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality.

Dr. King:

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.[…]

With [our] faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Full transcript below along with a video of John Lewis, President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation for the final Martin Luther King Day holiday of his presidency, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s speech in Birmingham.

Let Our People Vote

Today, Democrats in Congress will introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, a bill intended to repair the damage done to the Voting Rights Act by the Shelby County v Holder Supreme Court ruling two years ago.

The bill will face an uphill battle because one of our major national parties (sadly, the one in a majority right now) is bent on shrinking the franchise in order to continue to hang onto power. But it is important to present the Good Government alternative to their obstructionism:

The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 would compel states with a well-documented history of recent voting discrimination to clear future voting changes with the federal government, require federal approval for voter ID laws, and outlaw new efforts to suppress the growing minority vote.

The legislation will be formally introduced tomorrow by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and leaders of the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Asian Pacific American Caucus in the House. Civil-rights icon Representative John Lewis will be a co-sponsor. The bill is much stronger than the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA), Congress’s initial response to the Supreme Court’s decision, which garnered bipartisan support in the House but was not embraced by the congressional Republican leadership, which declined to schedule a hearing, let alone a vote, on the bill.[…]

The 2016 election will be the first in 50 years where voters will not have the full protections of the VRA, which adds urgency to the congressional effort.

The 2016 election can be summed up pretty succinctly as the “Use It Or Lose It” election as Democrats, including our likely nominee Hillary Clinton, have lined up on the side of expanding voting rights … and Republicans have made it clear that they have no interest in fixing any of the problems with our current system (the bill has no Republican sponsors).