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Press Release

With passing of Rep. John Lewis, we mourn loss of a true hero

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García reacts to the loss of Rep. John Lewis: ‘His life was dedicated to the pursuit of racial justice and freedom for all.’
Published: 07/18/2020

WASHINGTON - July 18, 2020 - U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), a son of sharecroppers who was bloodied at Selma, fought for social and racial justice in the Jim Crow south, and later served in Congress for more than three decades, died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. 

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“Today we mourn the loss of a true American hero, Congressman John Lewis.

“John Lewis was known as the ‘Conscience of the Congress,’ and even that esteemed title does not fully describe the exceptional nature of this man’s accomplishments. His life was dedicated to the pursuit of racial justice and freedom for all; his actions transformed the nation. He truly believed in the promise of this country, a more perfect union in which all are created equal. He loved America and was willing to risk his life for his country in order to ensure it fully lived up to its promise.

“In his famous remarks at the Lincoln Memorial he said, ‘Our minds, souls and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all people.’ John Lewis never rested, nor shall we in carrying on this pursuit. His legacy will serve as an inspiration for generations to come, and his influence is seen in the streets today, as a new generation makes ‘good trouble, necessary trouble’ in the face of injustice.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lewis family. Rest in Power.”

Follow on twitter at @NEAmedia and @Lily_NEA

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.