Rep. John Lewis at March on Washington: “I’m Not Going Stand By and Allow the Supreme Court to Take Away Right to Vote”
The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington drew thousands and many leaders gave rousing speeches, including Rep. John Lewis, the youngest speaker at the 1963 march, and Rev. Joseph P. Lowery. Lewis addressed the issue of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 being gutted vowing, “I am not going to stand by and allow the Supreme Court to take away the right to vote.”
“When I stood here 50 years ago, I said one man, one vote is the African cry. It is ours, too. it must be ours,” he began, before connecting the demands of 1963 to today’s struggles. “Almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us!”
LEWIS: You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You have to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. Make some noise. The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It’s the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it. Back in 1963 we didn’t have a cellular telephone, iPad, iPod, but we used what we had to bring about a non-violent revolution. And I said to all of the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us. We must say to the Congress, ‘Fix the Voting Rights Act.’ Source: Think Progress
Rev. Joseph Lowery said, “we come to Washington to commemorate, we’re going home to agitate.” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also gave a rousing speech in which he credited the civil rights movement for his and President Obama’s success.
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