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Rep. Chu Statement on the Passing of Congressman John Lewis

July 18, 2020
Press Release

PASADENA, CA – Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement on the passing of Rep. John Lewis:

“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of my friend John Lewis. He was a true leader in morality and justice, always pushing our nation to be better.

“It was an honor of a lifetime to serve alongside an icon of our civil rights movement like John. He was generous not only with his time and his spirit, but also in the way he taught us all how to advocate for the disenfranchised, the most vulnerable, and those who our society has left behind or forgotten. Just being around John Lewis, following his leadership and his steadfast moral compass, was transformative. In 2016, in the wake of the shooting massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, John stood up and said ‘Enough.’ And then he led our caucus in an historic sit-in on the floor of Congress that lasted twenty-six hours. At the end of this momentous effort to demand action on gun violence, John Lewis got up to speak. He told us our struggle would continue, and that we would win. Three years later, the House finally passed comprehensive background checks.

“In 2017, I traveled with John for the annual pilgrimage to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, retracing the steps that nearly led to his death so many years earlier when marching for the Voting Rights Act. Walking alongside John that day, I understood so much more about the struggle and the sacrifices he had made to create a more just and fair America. He never gave up that fight, and I was proud to stand by his side in support of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to ensure that everyone, everywhere, could exercise their right to vote.

“John fought for justice every day, and for so many people. I remember marching with him on a sweltering hot summer day to stop Trump’s heartless immigration detention policies separating families. John marched with us because he believed whole-heartedly that every human being needed to be treated humanely. That march was so hot and so long that some Members of Congress fainted, and had to receive medical attention, but I looked up and there was John, still standing as strong as ever.

“I also had the immense privilege of serving on the Ways and Means Committee with John. I will never forget the defense he gave of the Affordable Care Act, his voice booming, arguing that it was our duty, as Congress, to protect the most vulnerable, to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, or the color of their skin, or their background, could have healthcare when they got sick. And when he spoke, everyone, Republican and Democrat, listened. John brought the weight of the civil rights movement with him to Congress and led us in our search to find the next moment where we could change history.

“He was the conscience of Congress, and the epitome of what it meant to serve the people of his district. To serve with John, to learn from him, was one of the great privileges of my life.  May we, as a country, strive to uphold his legacy by continuing to cause Good Trouble and fighting for justice for all.”