STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF PRESIDENT BOB SCHOONOVER, VICE PRESIDENT LINDA DENT, TREASURER DAVID GREEN, SECRETARY LILIAN CABRAL AND CHIEF OF STAFF GILDA VALDEZ ON THE DEATHS OF REP. JOHN LEWIS AND REV. CORDY VIVIAN:
“For us to lose not one but two Civil Rights heroes in the same week is a shocking loss for our nation but their passing also calls to mind a high watermark in American activism that we would be well-served to reflect upon and emulate during these similarly turbulent times.
Rep. John Lewis not only led the historic fight for racial justice in Selma, Alabama as a young man but he channeled his passion for racial equality throughout his entire adult life, becoming a beloved and respected Congressman whose legacy historians will study for generations.
The Reverend C.T. Vivian was a man known equally for his organizing abilities and his eloquence, which were legendary and which characterized his long life of service both in the public sphere and in the pulpit.
Rep. Lewis and Rev. Vivian are examples of the best of American character – rightful recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor awarded to them by former President Barack Obama in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
Our SEIU Local 721 union family is sadden by the loss of such iconic figures in the fight for justice and we aim to keep them foremost in our minds as examples to follow during the challenging days ahead. And when it comes to upholding our union’s mission, we will – as the late Rep. John Lewis would often remind us – ‘get into good trouble’ to protect the rights of working people.”
For further reading on Rep. John Lewis and Rev. Cordy Vivian, read “The US loses two icons of the civil rights movement in one day.”