Across the country, people gathered to honor the legacy of the late Representative John Lewis (D-GA) with candlelight vigils on Saturday.
People met in-person and virtually for these nationwide “Good Trouble Vigils for Democracy” to mark the one-year anniversary of Rep. Lewis’s death and continue his legacy by protesting the current onslaught of voter suppression laws.
Rep. Lewis was a prominent civil rights leader and voting rights activist who fought against voter suppression and worked to expand and protect the right to vote throughout his life. He died at the age of 80, one year ago Saturday.
According to Gloria Moore, Georgia’s Dekalb County Democratic Committee Third Vice-Chair, 158 candlelight vigils were held across 42 states to remember Lewis and his work.
Rep. Lewis was a strong proponent of the phrase “good trouble,” encouraging activists to make change by getting into good trouble.
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair,” Lewis tweeted in June of 2018. “Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
The vigils Saturday aimed to pay tribute to Lewis by promoting this sense of hope and encouraging Congress to pass the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and D.C. Statehood.
Moore emphasized the importance of passing these bills to Lewis’s legacy. “It’s really important that we get people to focus on the fact that the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is an expansion of the original Voting Rights Act that he fought so hard for,” she told Decaturish at Dekalb County’s Good Trouble Vigil for Democracy in Georgia. “We have to make that happen.”
Sources: Atlanta Journal-Constitution 7/17/21; Good Trouble Vigil 7/17/21; Decaturish 7/19/21; Feminist Newswire 7/16/21; USA Today 7/18/21