Perspective: Honoring John Lewis

Aug 13, 2020

The late Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis entered this world one full decade ahead of me. While I learned long division and state capitals in elementary school, he would be among the first Freedom Riders to risk his life to end segregation. While I was learning – erroneously -- that the 15th Amendment guaranteed Blacks the right to vote, he would suffer a fractured skull from a police officer determined to prove otherwise.

I have often wondered, as I look back on my youth, if I would have had the moral and physical courage of John Lewis. I seriously doubt it. My conservative parents were quick to admonish me to stay out of trouble, and not get in the way.

Thankfully, that era produced a person like John Lewis, who actually sought out "good trouble" and would, many times, deliberately get in the way -- of injustice, inequality, and discrimination.

This year, I will honor him by exercising a right he was prepared to die for -- the right to vote. I hope everyone who cares about his legacy will do the same.

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.