What can you say to a man who fought tirelessly for social justice? A gentle man who believed fiercely in the notion that we are all equals and that love and nonviolence would, eventually, get us there. He taught us that participating in civic action was our duty and he sacrificed so much to ensure every American had the chance.
There are only two words: thank you.
Before he left us last week, he wrote an essay to be published on the day of his funeral. I encourage you to read his last words, or listen to them brought to life by actor Morgan Freeman. Let them echo far and wide. Share them with your fellow employees. Remind them of how important it is to stand up, speak up, and speak out on the issues about which they are most passionate. Help them translate that passion into action.
“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble,” his essay reads. ”Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is 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.”
It is our time to carry on his legacy.
He might have been small in stature but his unwavering beliefs, his vibrancy and passion made him a giant. Many of us involved in social impact work were lucky to have met him and be buoyed by his presence. We all seem to have a John Lewis story. Share your story with us in the comments below.