The late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a civil rights icon, left behind a passionate exhortation to the country amid nationwide unrest over race in the Trump era.
On the same day as Lewis’ funeral Thursday, the New York Times published an op-ed penned by the congressman.
In the essay, Lewis described how Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him to take action in the Civil Rights movement as black Americans like Emmett Till suffered racist violence by a country governed by white supremacy.
“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble,” Lewis wrote.
The late congressman emphasized the importance of voting, which he calls “the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.”
“You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it,” he warned.
Lewis concluded his essay with a final call to action.
“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe,” he wrote. “In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”
The civil rights leader’s warning that voting rights are not assured was published on the same day President Donald Trump tweeted an alarming suggestion to delay the November elections, even though he does not have the power to do so.