Friday, June 13, 2014

John Lewis – “Get in Trouble”

East Hartford - Famed civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis was honored at a reception hosted by fellow Congressman John Larson at Goodwin College. Lewis traveled to Connecticut to give the commencement address at the school.

John Lewis is a one of the few remaining old school civil right leaders still available to teach the ways that will keep the movement alive for the next crop of great leaders. Don’t be mislead by his dignified and charming grandfatherly manor. There is still plenty of fire left in this man.

“It is good to be here to see all of the changes that have occurred in America during the past 50 years, but we still have a way to go. There are forces in America today that want to take us back to another time. We can’t go back, we won’t go back.”

Interviewing Congressman Lewis
Photo by Merle Davis

His advice for future leaders? “They must get out there and push and pull and help make this country and the world community a better place. They have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to speak up, to speak out and find a way to get in the way. What I call good trouble, necessary trouble.” The kind of trouble Lewis has gotten into routinely for decades trying to help the cause. “I’ve been arrested about 40 times. I’ll probably get arrested some more.” he says with pride. 

Lewis is a man who has been beaten and jailed trying to make a change. “Public service is a calling, a lot of people put up with a lot of stuff. I don’t get tired, I don’t get weary. I feel like I’ve been blessed. I feel I have an obligation to help others.”

He called Congressman John Larson “A friend, a brother.” He praised the leadership efforts of Goodwin College for helping young people grow up to be good citizens. 

Goodwin College gave Lewis a new title “Dr. John Lewis” by conferred a him with a doctorial degree.  “It’s a happy day.” he said.