Washington, D.C.—Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today on the Senate
floor spoke of the life and legacy of civil rights leader Congressman John
Lewis. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks,
which can also be viewed here
Now a short time ago,
a ceremony honoring the life of the great Rep. John Lewis was held in the
Capitol Rotunda, the first time in our nation’s history that an African
American lawmaker had laid in state.
Last week, I shared my
reflections on the life and legacy of John Lewis here on the floor. In the
story of America, John was one of those special heroes whose moral clarity
shone out like a beacon for others to follow, a North Star who inspired his
fellow Americans to join him in the glorious work of perfecting our union.
Today, as we honor his extraordinary life here in the Capitol, many of us—his
friends and colleagues—are filled with a sense of loss. But I wanted to share a
short message of hope.
It's easy to forget
that John Lewis was just a teenager when he started the work of “redeeming the
soul of America,” as he put it. He was 18 years old when he first met Dr. King;
21 when he was arrested as a Freedom Rider; 25 when he was beaten bloody on a
Sunday in Selma.
The fight for civil
rights has always been driven by the righteous indignation of our young people.
And our time is no different. Once again, young people across the country are
rising in a mighty movement for justice and equality, supported by the vast majority
of Americans. The memory and legacy of John Lewis’ life lives on in each and
every one of them. And that fills me with hope.