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Trump Is Willing To Destroy A Prized National Asset To Maintain His Power

Every now and then, an enormously beneficial soul comes along — someone whose work is so productive, honest and inspirational that he or she ought not be allowed to die. That's how I felt last month when I heard that John Lewis had slipped away from us.

Since the late 1980s, it had been my good fortune to have known, admired and learned from this civil rights icon and U.S. representative from Georgia. Throughout his exemplary life of progressive activism, Lewis hurled his heart, soul, and head (literally!) into fighting the Powers That Be to gain and protect the voting rights of all Americans. As a young movement leader in 1965, he was with Martin Luther King Jr. among the marchers on the front line in Selma, Alabama, who had their heads busted by state troopers for daring to insist that African Americans be allowed to vote.

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‘Walk With The Wind’…And Vote

What a moment in America.

On Thursday, three former U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — walked into Atlanta's storied Ebenezer Baptist Church to deliver tributes to civil rights icon John Lewis, who died on July 17 at age 80.

Earlier this week, the current president of the United States refused to honor Lewis even in Washington, where Lewis' body lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on the Lincoln catafalque, a platform built in 1865 to hold the casket of Abraham Lincoln.

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For John Lewis, We Will Carry On

The first time I met John Lewis, in 2003, it was as the new girlfriend of his colleague in the House of Representatives. He had just sat down at his assigned seat in a room full of dinner tables, but as soon as he saw Sherrod and me walking toward him, John stood up and pulled me into a hug.

"You're the reason he can't stop smiling," John said.

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How To Remember The Real John Lewis — And His Righteous Struggle

Many Americans, when they remember the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, reflexively turn to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, quoting selective passages about content of character. But my sister Joan, who stood under a shaded tent that day, making signs with freedom slogans for out-of-towners to raise high, had a different answer when I asked for her thoughts. Not to take anything away from King, she told me, "It wasn't just that speech. It was all the speeches." And what impressed her teenage self most were the words of a man who was just 23, a few years older than she was.

On that day, John Lewis was already stirring up the "good trouble" he favored when he said: "To those who have said, 'Be patient and wait,' we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now!"

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