Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my voice to the numerous tributes to the extraordinary life of American congressional representative John Lewis. Mr. Lewis died last Friday at the age of 80.
He first entered the public scene in the early 1960s as the founder and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the tender age of 21. A lifelong practitioner of the Gandhian doctrine of non-violence, John Lewis and his colleagues put the brutality of racism in high relief by placing themselves at risk through non-violent actions.
Mr. Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders in 1961. He took part in activities which he knew beforehand would lead to his being clubbed, beaten, gassed, arrested and run a much higher risk of being killed.
Mr. Lewis was one of the speakers at the March on Washington in 1963. He was on the front lines of Bloody Sunday, the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama.
Author, activist, politician, conscience of the U.S. Congress, John Lewis inspired generations of people around the world, including me. I thank Mr. Lewis for living the life worth living. May he rest in peace.