July 18, 2020

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez statement Re: Death of John Lewis

The American Bar Association joins America in mourning the death of John Lewis, one of the country’s great champions of civil and human rights.

Lewis began his lifelong dedication to justice in college, organizing peaceful demonstrations that were instrumental to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He served more than three decades in Congress representing Georgia and providing a voice for the disenfranchised. The ABA awarded Lewis the Thurgood Marshall Award in 2019, the only non-lawyer ever to receive it, for his lifetime work to challenge injustice and advocate a philosophy for equality through nonviolence.

John Lewis is one of a generation of civil rights heroes whom we mourn. The ABA hopes all people are inspired by Lewis’ life and principles and continue to work toward his vision of a more just nation.  When Lewis  spoke to the ABA House of Delegates in 2011, Lewis stated, “I know that the American Bar Association will continue to be there, with your passion and your leadership, to build the Beloved Community, based on simple justice that values the dignity and the worth of every human being.”  We are striving each day live up to that challenge.