We are soldiers in the army.
We’ve got to fight although we have to cry,
We’ve got to hold up the blood-stained banner,
We’ve got to hold it up until we die.
We Are Soldiers In The Army, Rev. James Cleveland
Reverend C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis two civil rights giants and voices for justice died within hours of one another on Friday, July 17, 2020. I cried all Saturday morning. I was heartbroken. I texted a good friend, “I feel like we’ve lost members of the family.” He responded, “Because we have.”
It’s been nearly a month since their passing and we are left with questions, what has been left undone? And are we ready to pick up the mantle of justice and continue the fight? There are many battles at hand when considering the quest for justice — from combatting voter suppression to dismantling mass incarceration and structural racism that permeates education, health care, and housing, just to name a few. But what has been on my mind since that Saturday morning and what has been needling me, like a thorn in my side, is John Lewis’s speech in 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the unfinished business we have yet to achieve. He and other civil rights and labor leaders made ten demands that day nearly 57 years ago, Ten!