As a boomer who grew up during the times of the Civil Rights Movement here in the U.S., I am all too familiar with those iconic heroes who put so much on the line… their ideals, their passions and even their lives. I followed those heroes throughout those turbulent years as they were the foot soldiers who worked hard and gave much for the rights that we are fighting to hold on to today.
Last week, I had the opportunity to go to a book signing being held for Congressman John Lewis. I cannot tell you my joy in having the opportunity to finally meet one of my heroes, who is still fighting strong today.
We got a call that he would be in our neighborhood, and we were out the door within the hour, excited and ready for this unexpected chance to meet him, shake his hand, and thank him for all that he has done. For me, next to meeting him, I just wanted to look him in the eye and say thank you. For I remember that day long ago when he was beaten for standing up. I will forever remember that photo, etched in my memory.
Upon meeting him, I found him to be quite kind and very conversational, eager to share bits of his life. Imagine the surprise on his face when my son, began telling him the things he knew about the Congressman’s life. I told him, my sons were very knowledgeable about the struggle and all of those who fought for the rights of our people. I could tell he was delighted to see the passion being passed on to the next generation.
We discussed the new African American Museum opening in D.C. and I told him I was excited to visit it, hopefully this Fall. He gave me his business card and asked me to come see him when I come to Washington. That made my day!!! LOL!
We chatted a bit longer, much to the dismay of those waiting behind us, for which I apologize. And then all too soon, it was over, but not before I captured this wonderful moment in a collection of photos.
But I walked away smiling and grateful for the opportunity to intersect with this one solitary man who has left his permanent footprint on the landscape of Civil Rights in our country. I think all of us should honor these heroes by doing our part to continue the fight for the rights of all citizens in this country. For in the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It takes one voice, one person to make a difference.
Thank you, Congressman John Lewis!