Civil Rights Legend Rep. John Lewis Praises George Floyd Protesters for Getting into 'Good Trouble'
"It was very moving, very moving to see hundreds of thousands of people from all over America and around the world take to the streets," the Georgia congressman said
Talking Thursday morning with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement and friend of Martin Luther King Jr., said the widespread demonstrations and unrest since Floyd's death “feels and looks so different” than those in the past.
“It was very moving, very moving to see hundreds of thousands of people from all over America and around the world take to the streets — to speak up, to speak out, to get into what I call 'good trouble,' ” the Georgia congressman, 80, said.
Lewis later added, “This feels and looks so different. It is so much more massive and all inclusive. To see people from all over the world taking to the streets, to the roadways, to stand up, to speak up, to speak out.”
Speaking of Floyd, who died on May 25 in police custody after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as he pleaded for air, Lewis said:
"The way this young man died, watching the video, it made me so sad."
"It was so painful. It made me cry," he said. "I kept saying to myself, 'How many more? How many more young black men will be murdered?' The madness must stop."
Lewis, who said late last year he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, also discussed his experiences as a civil rights leader in the 1960s and drew parallels to the protests today, some of which have seen scenes of rioting and violence.
“Dr. King said over and over again, 'Hate is too heavy a burden to bear,' " he said on CBS This Morning. “The way of love is a much better way. And that's what we did. We were arrested. We were jailed. We were beaten. But we didn't hate, and we helped change America.”
“And that’s truly I believe what’s taking place now and will continue to take place during the next few days and weeks,” he said.
Lewis’ journey from activist to leading lawmaker will be detailed in a new documentary from filmmaker Dawn Porter, set to be released in early July.
The title of the upcoming film — John Lewis: Good Trouble — refers to Lewis’ praise of getting into “good trouble” through activism. Produced by CNN, the documentary will use present-day interviews and archival footage to chronicle Lewis’ life
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.