Thomasina W. Yearwood, President & CEO of The Thurgood Marshall Center Trust Pays Tribute To The Late Civil Rights Icon, Congressman John Lewis 

WASHINGTON, DC (July 19, 2020) – Today, Thomasina W. Yearwood, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust, Inc. (TMCT), offers her thoughts regarding the death of civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis.   

“As condolences continue to pour in, I, too, confess that my heart remains heavy as our community, nation and the world acknowledge the loss of the final member of the Civil Rights Movement’s ‘Big Six’ – Congressman John Lewis –  the last living soldier to speak to the cause for true equality and justice for all during the historic March on Washington.” 

“True to his God-given calling, John Robert Lewis, illustrated the importance of opening the door of opportunity for all, emerging from the home of parents who were sharecroppers and surviving a potentially fatal beating by police during the landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama to become a towering figure of the Civil Rights Movement and a longtime U.S. congressman.”

“Rep. Lewis devoted his life to racial justice, from serving as a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to a stellar career in the House of Representatives since his election in 1987. However, as an orator, few could match his ability to combine words that would lead the nation to action for multiple generations. In his 2017 memoir, ‘Across That Bridge,’ he shared these profound words: ‘We have been quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something. You have to make a little noise. You have to move your feet. This is the time.’” 

“Even as he fought a six-month long battle with cancer, Rep. Lewis continued to speak to the nation and to our hearts. His death on July 17, which came on the same day as that of another civil rights icon, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, comes at a time when America finds itself caught in a wave of nationwide protests against racism. In the wake of death of George Floyd and the surging Black Lives Matter movement, Rep. Lewis’s reflections still hold relevance. As he said at the March on Washington, ‘Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete.’” 

“I express my sympathy to the family, friends and staff of Rep. Lewis and thank them for sharing him with our community, nation and world. May he rest in peace.” 

Thomasina W. Yearwood is the President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust, Inc., an equal opportunity agency and nonprofit community organization. Our mission is to educate, encourage and empower children, youth and families to pursue equality, social and economic justice through provocative dialogue and collective action. Since its inception in 2000, the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage, a historic landmark in the Nation’s Capital has been the co-location for eleven non-profits organizations that serve children, youth and families in the Shaw/Columbia Heights community specifically and the District of Columbia in general.