Listen to this article
John Lewis: If not us

It was John Lewis who asked in 1941: 'If not us, then who? If not now, then when?'

People are, of course, talking about John Lewis’ leadership within the nonviolent civil rights movement of the 1960s, but I hope we won’t lose sight of the fact he didn’t go into retirement after the significant gains of that era.

Rebecca Ginsburg

Rebecca Ginsburg is a UI associate professor and director of the Education Justice Project

What moves me about Mr. Lewis’ life is that he remained in the struggle. In some ways, photos of him sitting on the House floor in 2016, participating in the sit-in that he and other Democratic members organized in support of gun control legislation, are even more powerful than photos of him on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Past the age when many would have chosen comfortable retirement, he continually elected to make “good trouble” in pursuit of justice.

His relentlessness speaks to a hopefulness that we need right now — will always need, I expect.

Rebecca Ginsburg is a UI associate professor and director of the Education Justice Project