“Wake up, America!”

by Michael Corey

When the Wall Street Journal covered the March on Washington in 1963–the very march during which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his most famous words—its report did not mention, “I Have a Dream.”
It instead focused on John Lewis.
“I say to you: Wake up, America!” the WSJ reported.
Those words feel as imperative today as ever.
Congressman Lewis is being lauded and mourned all over the world today as an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, which of course he was.
But he will always be an icon far greater than that, his influence and leadership and example so far reaching and hopeful and action-driven despite being dealt the harshest of treatments—being nearly beaten to death on the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, marching for voting rights.
Congressman Lewis’ fight for voting rights did not end when the Voting Rights Act was passed and signed into law by President Johnson. Indeed, the Supreme Court dealt it a significant blow just a few years ago. Congressman Lewis kept fighting, kept trying to make “good trouble,” another of his treasured lines of wisdom that he shared with us.
“I have said this before, and I will say it again. The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy. There are forces in this country that want to keep American citizens from having a rightful say in the future of our nation. That’s why the Voting Rights Act was gutted. We have to change that. We must change it and we will….
“We have the power, and we must do all that we can, on our own watch, in our own time to make sure the work of democracy continues in this country. I am deeply and very concerned about the future of our democracy. It seems like the lights are about to go out.
We must have the capacity and the ability to redeem the soul of this nation and set it on the right course. We must do all we can to make this a nation where justice and the voice of the people prevails.”
~ Congressman John Lewis, June 25, 2019
As I have shared, we at the Human Service Chamber will be working hard to advance voter registration and get out the vote efforts, in a non-partisan manner, in the 109 days that stand between today and the most important election for our sector in modern American history.
We will continue working hard for all of you and the people you serve, and our work to ensure everyone that has the right to vote, can vote, will be done with Congressman Lewis on my mind and in my heart.
To make sure you are registered to vote, go HERE.
Michael Corey
Executive Director, Human Service Chamber of Franklin County

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