WASHINGTON – Democrats on Thursday paid tribute to the civil rights movement in the United States and one of its leaders, the recently deceased John Lewis, by the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and a video tribute, at their convention .
“People often think they can’t make a difference like our civil rights icons, but all the people in the movement mattered – those who made the sandwiches, swept church floors, filled the envelopes,” Bottoms said.
“They,” he added, “also changed the United States. And so have we! They have passed the baton to each one of us.”
The mayor of Atlanta referred specifically to Lewis, and his fight for access to the vote of African Americans.
“Lewis reminded us that if we don’t exercise our right to vote, we can lose it,” the mayor said.
“We have cried out for justice, we have gathered in our streets to demand change, and now, we must pass on the gift that John Lewis sacrificed to give us, we must register and we must vote,” he added.
Jacquelyn Asbie, an elevator operator in New York who appeared in a viral video last year expressing her support for Joe Biden when they met while he was meeting with the NYT editorial board, nominated Biden for president of the United States at the Democratic National Convention.
Lewis, a historic African-American leader who was a companion of Martin Luther King in the 1960s and who was also a Democratic congressman for decades, passed away in July at age 80 of cancer.
The mayor also referred to COVID-19, a disease she contracted weeks ago and from which she said she has recovered, although her husband still feels “side effects.”
“There are those who are shamefully using this pandemic to spread disinformation and interfere with voting. Forcing many, in 2020, to risk their lives to exercise their sacred right to vote, a right for which we have already paid with blood, the sweat, the tears and the lives of so many, “he said.
Democrats used the tribute to Lewis to echo his fight for the right to vote and urged their voters to vote by mail or in person as soon as possible during this pandemic year.