Local lawmakers give final farewells to Congressman John Lewis; challenge next generation

Local lawmakers give final farewells to Congressman John Lewis; challenge next generation

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Known for his ‘good trouble,’ John Lewis now lies in his final resting place following funeral services earlier Thursday.

His long-time colleagues are now asking the public to continue to work to fulfill Lewis’s legacy.

Lawmakers including Sanford Bishop and Ed Harbison want people to know this is not an ending. The way to honor Lewis is by continuing his fight.

“John, you fought the good fight,” Harbison said.

Throughout the country, civil rights leaders, lawmakers, and the public are mourning the loss of Lewis to his battle with pancreatic cancer. As he reaches his final resting place, those who knew the leader well are urging people to carry on his mission.

“The challenge he leaves us is to keep his principles alive and keep the fight for freedom, for justice, and fairness for all of God’s children alive so we can one day arrive at what he called the beloved community,” Bishop said.

“Always maintain the moral authority,” said Harbison. “Do the John Lewis thing. They have to understand there’s going to be sacrifices, there’s going to be some setbacks, but at the same time, it’s a lifelong struggle. It doesn’t end.”

Harbison and Bishop spent more than 50 years of their lives with Lewis in it. With him now gone, the loss hurts even those who did not know him personally.

“This is definitely not a loss for us, said Columbus NAACP President Melvin Tanner. “It’s a gain for heaven. I think Congressman Lewis has definitely gained his wings.”

“We’ll never be able to replace him. He was a man who supported love, peace, freedom, justice for all of humanity,” Bishop said.

“In my heart you’ll always be there and the lamp will always be lit,” Harbison said.

Harbison said if he could speak with his ‘good trouble’ friend one more time, here’s his message.

“I’m just honored to be his friend and bon voyage home boy,” he said.

Harbison along with State Representative Calvin Smyre are among the group from the Congressional Black Caucus who carried Lewis’s casket from it’s place in the capitol to the hearse where his body would travel to the funeral services.

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