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An Open Letter to John Lewis

January 06, 2020

Margaret Renkl, New York Times

Fellow Alabamian Margaret Renkl honors John Lewis in her recent New York Times opinion piece. 

“From a sharecropper’s shack outside Troy, Ala., where as a young boy you preached to the chickens, to the battlegrounds of the civil rights movement to the hallways of the federal government, you have been a moral compass for the nation and a voice for freedom and democracy in the world: leading a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand a vote on sensible gun legislation, fighting for equitable health care for the poor and just last month announcing the passage of a bill that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act.”

“We can’t help leaning hard on your optimism, relying on the certainty of your hope. As you face the trials of cancer treatment, I hope you will feel surrounded by the love of all the people you have comforted over the years. A grateful nation is praying for you, Congressman. We are praying for your health and your courage. We are praying for your comfort and your peace. And we will never cease praying for your Beloved Community. We will never cease praying for this country to become the place you have always believed it could be.”

Indeed, it is the John Lewises of the nation who feed us the strength to carry on. His certainty of a more perfect nation inspires courage, engenders hope.

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