CNY Radio Host Remembers John Lewis, Connects Him To Current Movements
Civil rights advocate and Congressmember John Lewis is being remembered in Central New York as a selfless crusader who’s connected to the racial justice movement of today.
Local media member and human rights advocate George Kilpatrick had the chance to interview Lewis.
“There was an energy about him. There was a humbleness about him as he recalled some of the most horrific events in history,” said Kilpatrick. “Obviously Bloody Sunday on the Edmond Pettus Bridge, and the beating that he took for our rights to vote and live in America, the land of promised freedom.”
Kilpatrick remembers Lewis as someone who never took his eye off the prize of those freedoms. Lewis gained attention protesting alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. In 1963, he spoke on issues that still concern racial justice advocates today.
“We are tired of being beaten by policemen,” said Lewis. “And in your call to be patient. And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient?”
Kilpatrick calls Lewis and the other young activists of the time the bridge to the current Black Lives Matter movement.
“We don’t know who the next John Lewis is going to be, but John Lewis at that time was just doing what he thought was right,” said Kilpatrick. “And that’s what these young people who are part of the movement today are doing. They’re doing what they think is right because we can no longer wait until the system says it’s ready to change. We must demand the change now.”
In remembering Lewis, Kilpatrick says he’s the best of who we are and the promise of who we can be. He adds even those who opposed Lewis’s causes still praised him for standing up for what he believed.