What Young People Can Learn from the Life And Leadership of John Lewis
There has been a lot of sorrow this year, and the passing of the legendary leader and Congressman John Lewis only adds to that melancholy. However, as saddening as his death is, we must take a moment to reflect on the positive change he brought in this country. He has been, and always will be, an inspiration for young people in this world. Here’s what young people can learn from the life and leadership of John Lewis.
Understanding Historical Times
While John Lewis was not a nation-wide symbol of hope, justice, and freedom until his survival in 1965, he was already engaged in bringing freedom for Black people in the country at a young age. Lewis was born in the 1940s and, thus, grew up in segregated America. Because of that, he was only a boy when he began to experience the effects of racism. And that only increased as he grew older.
Leadership At a Young Age
John Lewis did not want to be passive about the racist conditions of the country. So, when he was only 15, he stood in front of a crowd and gave his very first public sermon. From that point onward, he kept pushing to get his voice, and the voices of Black people, heard across the country.
The Fight for Justice and Equality
From a young age, Lewis understood that we must work together to bring about positive change. Thus, in ’61, he formed a group along with 12 other people, seven of whom were white people, called Freedom Riders. This group aimed to bring change to existing laws that prohibited black and white people to sit beside each other on public transportation.
Lewis was an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. Due to his participation in the fight to equality, he was beaten at the hands of the police. However, that didn’t stop him. He spent seven years as the director of the Voter Education Project. This project had aimed to make it possible for minorities to cast their votes.
After that, he made his transition into politics and eventually became a congressman in 1986. He held this position till 2018, as he was re-elected 16 times during 1986 and 2018.
Commitment to Faith
John Lewis did not allow his faith to falter, even after seeing so much hate and injustice around him. His faith, in fact, was a pillar of personal strength for him. It provided his activism with a framework—a lens, of sorts, in determining what is and is not right.
A Strong Leader Till the End
Lewis understood that there is no place for hate in this world, and this kind of wisdom is what made him a legendary leader. He even forgave those who physically hurt him and showed them compassion when they apologized to him. These qualities Lewis possessed showcase his closeness to his faith—for Jesus said to love your enemies, and that is exactly what Lewis did!
John lewis was an astounding man and will always be remembered for the legacy he has left behind.