Durbin: We Must Honor John Lewis' Life By Protecting The Right To Vote For All Americans

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) honored the life of U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA-05), a civil rights icon who risked his life to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to protest the right to vote, and who fought for racial justice and equality in America throughout his entire life. 

“For a man who had witnessed the depths of hatred and despair, John Lewis was one of the most hopeful people I have ever met,” Durbin said. “He told us we must be headlights, not taillights. And for John, being a headlight meant going out ahead and shining a light so that people could see that living in the cold shadows of discrimination, there were those who needed the warmth of America's promise. He challenged us always to expand our concepts of justice and equality, to respect the dignity and worth of every human being, Black or White, Latino or Asian, immigrant, Native American, gay, straight, Muslim, Christians, Jews; John spoke for all of them.”

To honor Rep. Lewis’ legacy, Durbin called on the Senate to protect the right to vote for all Americans by restoring the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“He risked his life for the right of every man and woman in America to vote and to have a voice in our democracy…words of praise for John Lewis are fine. But they're not enough. This Senate should honor the life and the sacrifice of John Lewis by voting to restore the Voting Rights Act. There are some who are trying mightily to diminish Americans’ faith in our democracy and our elections. We can honor John Lewis by protecting the right to vote. Let's do it and do it now,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.