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Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Why John Lewis Is Supporting Hillary Clinton For President

November 07, 2015

"She is the right person for the job."

Congressman John Lewis stood backstage in the auditorium at Clark Atlanta University, one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Georgia, watching as excited students and members of the Atlanta community packed into the auditorium, ready to launch African Americans for Hillary. By his side stood one of his dearest friends, Hillary Clinton.


At age 19, John Lewis joined the Congress of Racial Equality freedom rides—and he's been tirelessly fighting for civil rights since. Lewis spoke at the March on Washington, and he endured unspeakable brutality marching from Selma to Montgomery protesting Alabama's oppressive voting laws.

One of the most severe beatings Lewis received happened in Anniston, Alabama, in 1961. When he and his fellow Freedom Riders arrived in Anniston, their bus was attacked, and many of the people on board were badly injured. Lewis was taken to the Anniston Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The name of the hospital might seem like an insignificant detail—but it mattered to Alexa Heard, a current senior at Clark Atlanta University, who was standing on stage introducing the pair in the wings.

"That day," said Heard, "a bruised and beaten John Lewis, along with his fellow Freedom Riders, were taken to a local hospital called Regional Medical Center in Anniston. It was a segregated care facility at the time. But because he had gotten on that bus and rode into a world of unrighteousness, because he had fought against racism, armed only with truth, love, and the belief that all men truly are created equal, because he had suffered the sting of humiliation and indignity, because he had stood there, and he had stood for something, is the reason why I was able to be born in that hospital some 30 years later."

Backstage, Hillary smiled brightly as she turned to the congressman. "Ooh," she said, lightly squeezing his arm. "That was a great line."

Lewis smiled back at her.


Twenty-five years after that day in Anniston, the teenager who was beaten and arrested for standing up to racism was elected to Congress to represent Georgia—a state that had been deeply segregated for the first half of his life.

But in 2013, decades after African Americans were legally guaranteed the right to vote free from discrimination, he watched with horror as the Supreme Court removed key pieces of the Voting Rights Act of 1964—a law he had fought and bled for.

"That act helped free and liberate many Americans. The vote is the most powerful, most precious nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. And we have forces in America today that are trying to make it harder and more difficult for people to participate—we cannot let that happen."

Hillary will fight to restore the Voting Rights Act and the rights that the Freedom Riders fought for: ensuring that no voice is silenced, no person is unfairly barred from voting, and no community is ignored in the political process.

"There are forces that are trying to take us back. Hillary Clinton is saying we will not go back, we will go forward and we will go with her," Lewis says. "When things get tough, Hillary does not back down. ... She is a tireless fighter, an advocate for those that have been left out and left behind. She will fight to reform our broken criminal justice system. She will fight for each and every child to receive the best possible education. She is the right person for the job in the 21st century."

Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Why John Lewis Is Supporting Hillary Clinton For President Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317054

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