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Civil Rights Leader Inspired When a Woman Said No

Posted By Yahairah Aristy: A President’s Perspective, Friday, July 31, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2020
When Rosa Parks was asked to sit at the back of the bus—she said No. Her doing so changed the late 14-term United States Congressman John Lewis’ life forever, said Lewis in an interview recorded in January 2020 and re-posted on July 19, 2020 in the podcast What It Takes Academy of Achievement. Lewis was no stranger to acknowledging the influence women had in the civil rights movement. He stated “I truly think and believe women were discriminated against. They did all of the work; they did the heavy lifting. They were kept back.” (September 21, 2016 Roundtable on Voting Rights). 

Inspired by Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a young Lewis began his civil rights journey not knowing he will become a civil rights leader with a philosophy of non-violence while making “good trouble, necessary trouble”. When asked “what shall I do” Lewis advised “Find a way to follow the dictates of your conscience. Find your inner compass and follow it. Do what is right. Be kind. Don’t hate, love is a better way. Don’t become cynical. Forget about your own circumstances and find a way to get involved in the circumstances of others. Try to do something to serve the common good, and don’t be afraid.”

Congressman Lewis’ advice is advice we can all take as we continue to advocate for equality of women through Service, Inclusion and Advocacy. May he rest in peace.

 

Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

 

Tags:  advocacy  civil rights  civil rights movement  congressman john lewis  equality  inclusion  leader  martin luther king jr  rosa parks  service  women  women's advocacy 

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