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Chris Perry: Nation is grateful for the accomplishments of Lewis

Ex•em•plar
noun
A person or thing serving as an example or excellent model.

I, like the rest of the world, woke to the sorrowful news that a lion of a man, slipped the surly bonds of this mortal coil…

Congressman John Robert Lewis, just 80 years young, was, and will always be, the living embodiment of an EXEMPLAR!

Most, will understandably, pin a young John Lewis to the side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It is important to note, however, that Mr. Lewis found himself questioning, at a very early age, a system of unsavory authority and the accompanying brutality from one group of Americans toward another. This innate sense was the catalyst for his courageous desire to always speak truth to power.

I won’t bog this down by listing the staggering level of peaceful acts and the voluminous amount of goodwill Mr. Lewis was involved in and responsible for.

I will nonetheless encourage everyone reading this to take 20 or 30 minutes to learn why Congressman Lewis will be permanently mentioned in the same breath as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt.

I will mention, also, that over 70 years ago, John Lewis drew upon his own tenacious instincts, to recognize, well before it was a modern-day movement or a catchy counter phrase, that in our country, all lives couldn’t possibly matter until black lives mattered, also.

Arrested dozens of times, for peacefully protesting and helping American citizens register to vote, he was savagely beaten and bloodied, within an inch of his life, at the foot of a bridge, no less named after former Confederate general and KKK Grand Dragon Edmund Pettus!

Make no mistake, Congressman Lewis was not only a warrior for domestic civil rights, he was, more importantly, a champion for HUMAN rights! Mr. Lewis was called on by leaders from around the world to sit in council, regarding issues of education reform, immigration reform, gender and LGBTQ equality, as well as racism being rooted in the more serious theme of classism, and the shameful toll that takes on food equality and poverty and the cyclical effects there of.

You sir, are THE EXEMPLAR of American exceptionalism!

While thanks could never be enough, we thank you, for reminding us to always “get in good trouble, necessary trouble!”

As a tribute to John Lewis‘s lifetime of sacrifice and service, I implore those who recognize his great works to honor his wishes.

Sincerely,
An eternally grateful nation!

Chris Perry is a native Irontonian working in telecommunications, and recently has been reunited with the Ohio River after three decades away