Rep. John Lewis to Speak at AU

BY: AYESHA ALI

Civil rights champion Congressman John Lewis will be coming to American University as part of the DMV Multicultural Greek Summit. The Intercultural Greek Collective (IGC) and Kennedy Political Union (KPU) announced Wednesday that Lewis will be the keynote speaker at the conference on Saturday, Nov. 18. 

After Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston and Orlando and now Las Vegas, how many more must die? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? A million? What is your blood price? How many more must die? How many mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives? Tell us! What is the number??? How many dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress? But there is no number, is there? There is no amount of blood or pain or death or suffering that will move this Congress to act. We hold moments of silence and vigils, we offer our thoughts and prayers, but it’s all a show, a placeholder until people forget and this Congress can move on to rolling back restrictions on silencers or making it easier for the mentally ill to purchase weapons. Don’t tell me otherwise. I’ve been around too long. I lost colleagues in Mississippi and Alabama to gun violence. I lost Dr. King to a man with a rifle. I lost Robert Kennedy to a man with a handgun. I have seen too many gun deaths and I am here to say right now – THIS MUST STOP. We were elected to lead. Have courage. Have the raw courage to make a down-payment on ending gun violence in America. We can no longer wait. We can no longer be patient. If this were a fire, we would bring water. If this were a virus, we would send medicine. If this were a storm, we would give shelter. But this is about guns, and so, once more, this Congress does nothing. Don’t tell me we need mental health reform when you won’t provide every American access to mental health care. Don’t tell me this is about protecting the second Amendment when you won’t stand up for the first Amendment. Don’t tell me this is about anything other than greed and money and fear. Have courage. Be unafraid. Do your job and bring common sense gun control legislation to a vote.

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Lewis’ speech is free for AU students, but first, you have to register. The event will take place in Mary Graydon Center rooms 3-5 from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Register here.

Why should you attend? Congressman Lewis was, and still is, one of the most important figures in civil rights history. With help from the Congressman's website, we've compiled nine reasons why you should RSVP right now.

 1. Rep. Lewis was born to sharecropper parents in Troy, Alabama. He attended segregated public schools in Pike County.

2. He joined the Civil Rights Movement after hearing about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Lewis attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters.

3. Congressman Lewis has represented Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since 1986. Currently, he also serves as  Senior Chief Deputy Whip of the Democratic Party.

4. He was awarded the highest civilian honor granted, the Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.

6. In 1961, Lewis volunteered as a Freedom Rider, risking his life to desegregate buses in the South.  Lewis was    attacked by angry mobs and arrested for standing up against Jim Crow Laws.

7. From 1963-1966, Lewis served as the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

8. He has received honorary degrees from more than 50 colleges and universities in the United States, including Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Columbia and Duke universities. 

9.  John Lewis is the co-author of the National Book Award-winning graphic novel memoir trilogy, "MARCH"

 

If these reasons have intrigued you, then be sure to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to hear Rep. Lewis speak. Because in the words of Lewis: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”