Today is the three-year anniversary of John Lewis’ passing.
An activist, civil rights pioneer, and incredible legislator, John Lewis left behind a legacy of striving to do what is right even when it is hard. He was the living embodiment of “good trouble.”
What is good trouble?
Good trouble is standing up against tyranny.
Good trouble is striving towards equality.
Good trouble is seeing a wrong in the world and fighting to make it right, even in the face of a society that swears everything is fine.
It is only fitting that Rep. Lewis’ passing came at an inflection point in the course of racial justice in this country: In the midst of a global pandemic, protests over the murder of George Floyd flooded the country, forcing Americans to become more active in reckoning with our country’s racist past and discriminatory present.
It’s important to note that today also marks the anniversary of Eric Garner’s murder. The anniversary of Sandra Bland's murder was on July 13. And, the anniversary of Philando Castile’s murder was on July 6. Rep. Lewis passed on a day surrounded by the ghosts of the oppression he worked his entire life to end.
As we take a moment to look back on his incredible life and legacy, we are struck by a quote from his book Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future in which he said, “freedom is not a state; it is an act.”
We cannot take freedom for granted. We cannot stand aside while others are not afforded the same rights. We must choose to stand proudly in defiance of oppression and in support of those who are the victims of it.
In short, we must get in some good trouble.
We know Indivisibles are never scared to get into a little good trouble. Whether it’s birddogging their MoC, protesting a horrendous SCOTUS ruling, or running for a local office, Indivisibles all across the country step up time and again to fight for a more just future. And it's more urgent than ever, as the current national discourse continues to ask if white nationalists are racist (they are) and if people of color deserve the same rights and opportunities as their white counterparts (they do).
It is important to remember though that a large part of actively fighting against oppression is continuing to learn, grow, and prepare yourself for the next time it inevitably rears its ugly head.
Today we ask: What are you doing to grow on your journey towards racial justice?
To be an ally is a verb. And much like we prepare before any event with our representatives, we must also continue preparations to ensure we include racial justice in the foundations of our movement every day. The process of learning never ends; we are never too old, too smart, or too experienced to grow.
What does that look like for you today?
Are you reading books?
Are you listening to podcasts?
Are you attending local events or educational discussions?
Are you taking a course on bystander intervention?
We want to understand how Indivisibles are continuing on their journey towards racial justice. What content is helping you grow? If you’re not into answering a survey, you can reply directly to this email with suggested content (just make sure to include details like the author, publisher, medium, etc. so that we can find it), but if you want some structure, fill out this survey to let us know what’s helping you learn.
Your responses will help us develop more resources and guides so we, as a network, can continue the conversation on racial justice together. Learning is both an individual action and a collective commitment. We are stronger when we are all walking forward together.
Remember: The summer of George Floyd was a tipping point, but it was not the beginning -- the extrajudicial murders of Black Americans started before we ever heard “make america great again” and continue through today. Sandra Bland was murdered in 2015, Eric Garner was murdered in 2014, and Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old child, was murdered in 2012. The past will not protect us and we have yet to solve these problems in the present (Ralph Yarl was shot this April, and Ajike Owens was murdered this June). Our country has never been “great” toward Black people and will only become great if we work together to make it.
Freedom is an act. It cannot be passive. Now is always the time to act. How are you preparing yourself today to move with us towards a brighter future?