John Lewis’s Essay: It’s Time for Americans to Let Freedom Ring
Sep 12, 2021
It's Time For Americans To Let Freedom Ring: Analysis of John Lewis Essay
Congressman, the late John Lewis, called upon Americans to continue fighting for justice, a peaceful and equitable world in an essay he wrote a few days before his death. The civil rights movement hero reminded Americans of the need to stand for what they conceived to be a better world. Lewis's essay revealed the tremendous strides that American society has taken towards promoting an equitable society since the days of the civil rights movement.
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Lewis's essay was a wake-up call for every American to partake in the path towards promoting equity, democracy, and economic prosperity, irrespective of their racial, economic, or political differences. He noted, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community” (Haltiwanger, 2020). The civil rights icon Lewis, who will be remembered for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, had spent much of his political life pressing for equal representation of the minority living in the American society. Lewis had suffered physically, including the skull structure, in 1965 when he led over 600 peaceful demonstrations pushing for voting rights of the black community. Americans should use their democratic rights to build a racism-free society founded on peace, love, and harmony.
Lewis observes that the current justice and political reforms sweeping across the U.S were a sign of a bright future. He said, "Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world, you set aside race, class, age, language, and nationality to demand respect for human dignity" (Duster, 2020). Both blacks and whites were coming out to condemn the killings, and police brutality meted on the African Americans was a promising sign in building a more cohesive America. He spoke in response to the recent demonstrations where Americans of different races have put aside their racial differences and come out in large numbers to condemn police brutality.
The last surviving hero of the March 1963 Washington speech observed that America was heading in the right direction despite the few challenges and maintained that the current generation was determined to make the needed change. According to Lewis, the present generation is what America has been yearning for because it holds the change. He urged Americans to go for the change, "Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe” (Haltiwanger, 2020). For decades, the blacks have braved the brunt of racism that follows them in all aspects of their social lives. One such aspect has been the police brutality on African Americans. The public has witnessed fierce debates on American society's deeply disintegrated along racial and economic lines. According to Lewis, the present generation has made tremendous steps in bridging the gaps.
Lewis concluded his letter by encouraging the current generation to let their actions count in 21st-century history. He advises them to walk with the wind and let the spirit of power, peace, and everlasting love reign, "So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers, and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide" (Duster, 2020). The time has come for America to embrace the long-awaited change and promote a cohesive society.
'Now It Is Your Turn To Let Freedom Ring" reminds the current American generation of the need to make the change. They should focus on actions that will build a legacy that will be remembered for centuries—the power to change lies in the current generation's hands.
Duster, C. (July 30, 2020). In Essay Published On Day Of His Funeral, John Lewis Calls On Americans To 'Let Freedom Ring.’ CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/30/politics/john-lewis-essay-new-york-times/index.html Accessed August 16, 2021
Haltiwanger, J. (July 30, 2021). John Lewis wrote an essay to America in his final days: 'Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.' Business Insider Africa. https://africa.businessinsider.com/politics/john-lewis-wrote-an-essay-to-america-in-his-final-days-now-it-is-your-turn-to-let/5rz7p2l, Accessed August 16, 2021
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