UnidosUS Statement on the Passing of Civil Rights Legend Rep. John Lewis

WASHINGTON— UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement in response to the passing yesterday of civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis:

“We have lost an icon of the civil rights movement, a longtime friend and champion of the Latino community, and a great American. He was called the conscience of the Congress, but he was really the conscience of the nation. The loss of this uncommonly decent, moral, humane, and good man is heartbreaking, and especially hard to bear given the current state of our nation.

“When I marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama several years ago, I was moved to tears thinking about the courage of John Lewis and his fellow marchers that Sunday in 1965. But despite almost losing his life, John Lewis never stopped marching and he never stopped fighting. And even as a titan of the civil rights movement, he always and generously embraced new movements for justice and new activists, especially the young leaders he mentored.

“One of those communities he embraced was ours. He never hesitated in supporting Latinos and immigrants—from comprehensive immigration reform to voting rights to condemning family separation. He said many times that ‘We are all one family, living in one house,’ and that he believed that our fight was moving the entire civil rights movement forward. To have his blessing for the Latino civil rights movement was something that both humbled us and that we will forever cherish. For his extraordinary work and unmatched legacy, we were deeply honored to have given him our Capital Award for Public Service in 2004.

“Our deepest condolences to his family and to our friends and partners in the African American community who are mourning today. He is irreplaceable. But we will let his example inspire all of us to get into ‘good trouble’ as we work to fulfill his dream of justice and equality for all.”