Press Release

American Federation of Teachers Officers Remember US Rep. and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus issued the following statements after the death of U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia:

Weingarten said:

“Rep. Lewis taught us how to be justice warriors—how to fight for freedom, how to sacrifice for justice, how to build a community that works toward a better life for all. That was ‘good trouble.’ His great moral courage is at the heart of everything we do—every fight we take on, every struggle for equality, and every wrong we try to right. He was a giant in every sense of the word, and all of us who work to repair the world owe him an enormous debt. As we continue on our journey for justice, we must hold dear his conscience, his bravery, his humility and his steadfast belief in the power of action. May his memory be a blessing—and a revolution.”

Johnson said:

“A civil rights icon and the longest-serving member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Lewis inspired all of us to make the promises of a better life accessible to everyone. He dedicated every day of his life to making ‘good trouble, necessary trouble’ and to disrupting the status quo so that future generations could live in a more just and equitable America, where civil rights and racial desegregation were more than just a dream. That will forever be his legacy.”

DeJesus said:

“It’s on us now to make Rep. Lewis proud, and to continue to build this country as he worked so hard to do for the last eight decades: peacefully, powerfully, and by bringing people together and building them up. He was a man of faith, and that faith was visible throughout his work. In his honor, we will work to create an America that fulfills the promise of equality and freedom for all people, an America that values education, democracy and the free expression of ideas, with the goal of building a better tomorrow.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.