A Note on the Passing of John Lewis

This past Friday the United States lost one of its most cherished heroes. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia was a civil rights leader and known to his colleagues on Capitol Hill–where he served for 33 years–as the moral compass of Congress.

John Lewis’ legacy will continue to inspire all those who knew him, loved him, and were moved by his words and commitment to making ours a more perfect union. In that spirit, we also can’t forget to honor his deep concern for the environment and environmental justice. He said, “whatever we do to the earth, we do to each other” and played a pivotal role in connecting social justice to environmentalism long before most of us had ever heard of environmental justice.

In 1992, along with then-Senator Al Gore, Lewis introduced the “Environmental Justice Act of 1992” into Congress. The proposed legislation was designed to “help those people who face the greatest risk of exposure to toxic substances and pollution” which Lewis knew meant communities of color. More recently, John Lewis did not mince words when it came to President Trump’s reckless reversals of climate action and was one of the first members of Congress to support the Green New Deal resolution. He reminded us that, “We do not live on this planet alone.  It is not ours to hoard, waste, or abuse.  It is our responsibility to leave this world a little more clean and a little more peaceful for all who must inhabit it for generations to come.”

A world without this great man is one that certainly shines less bright. We mourn his passing but hold tight to the lessons he taught us. We at Our Daily Planet send our deepest condolences to John Lewis’ son, staff, and all those who are grieving his passing.

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