House lawmakers mark one-year passing of 'preacher for peace' John Lewis

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House lawmakers commemorated the one-year anniversary marking the death of the late Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, on Saturday.

Mr. Lewis, who died at the age of 80 on July 17, 2020, was remembered by his former colleagues as a champion of civil rights, particularly when it came to advancing racial justice.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, referred to Mr. Lewis as a “great American” as well as a “preacher for peace.” 

“We miss John Lewis. We remember John Lewis. Let us follow John Lewis’s example, working towards the beloved community,” Mr. Hoyer said in a video.

Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, took the anniversary to promote voting legislation, bearing Mr. Lewis’s name, which is currently supported by several other House Democrats. 

“Today marks one year without my dear friend, John Lewis, a stalwart in the fight for voting rights,” Mr. Clyburn said on Twitter. “We ought to honor his memory and life’s work by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and protecting the right to vote.”

Mr. Lewis is recognized for his leadership during the Civil Rights movement. During his work to advance racial equality, Mr. Lewis was arrested more than 40 times. 

The late lawmaker, who was nicknamed the “conscience of Congress,” became the first Black person to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol last year. 

Rep. Drew Ferguson, Georgia Republican, called Mr. Lewis an “American hero,” noting his respect for the late congressman despite political differences. 

“While John [and] I didn’t always agree on politics, he was always a gracious friend [and] colleague,” Mr. Ferguson wrote on Twitter. “John was a leader with a humble heart whose tenacity will be remembered for generations.”

A group of lawmakers, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also traveled to San Diego on Saturday to attend the christening of the USNS John Lewis by the United States Navy.

Members who attended the congressional delegation trip included House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and several other members, including Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, Maxine Waters, California Democrat, and Buddy Carter, Georgia Republican.

Rep. Joyce Beatty, Ohio Democrat who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, organized the trip.

“As the USNS John Lewis sets sail across the sea in service to our nation, may this beautiful ship be a beacon of strength and inspiration as we carry on John’s life mission: to pursue a more perfect union,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a statement.

Mr. Lewis was also remembered by former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and President Biden.

“Days before he died one year ago today, Jill and I spoke with John Lewis for the last time,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “He asked us to remain focused on the unfinished work – his life’s work – of healing and uniting this nation. With John’s spirit guiding us, we must be unafraid and never give up.”

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