Ms. Foundation Issues Statement on the Passing of Civil Rights Leaders Rep. John Lewis and C.T. Vivian

Ms. Foundation Issues Statement on the Passing of Civil Rights Leaders Rep. John Lewis and C.T. Vivian

NEW YORK (July 20, 2020) – Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger released the following statement in response to the recent passing of Representative John Lewis and C.T. Vivian:

“With heavy hearts, we at the Ms. Foundation for Women mourn the passing and celebrate the unshakable legacies of Representative John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, two champions of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Rep. Lewis was a consistent supporter of a woman’s right to choose, and championed women’s voices – especially Black women’s voices – demanding they receive respect and dignity in leadership and politics. He was also no stranger to a fight, especially one rooted in righting the wrongs of our nation – laws responsible for oppressing Black people and people of color. It should come as no surprise that his lifelong commitment to racial justice has continued to inspire this country to make movements for systemically silenced voices.

“C.T. Vivian was a leading figure in the nonviolent struggle against injustice. The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once referred to him as the ‘greatest preacher to ever live,’ but he also was a gifted organizer who participated in the 1960 Nashville sit-ins and the Freedom Rides. Both he and Lewis, close friends, would later be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their contributions.”

“As we approach a critical election in our nation’s history, we must all remember the importance of our vote and heed the lessons of the lives of John Lewis and C.T. Vivian – the hardships, risks, and violence they faced to demand equality for all.

“In their wake, the Ms. Foundation and our grantee-partners pledge to get into all types of ‘good trouble,’ as was Lewis’s favorite term for making noise against oppression. We will carry the baton of their fight for freedom forward.” 

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For 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.