State leaders, Nevada’s largest union share grief over loss of Congressman John Lewis

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — State leaders and Nevada’s largest union expressed their grief over the loss of Civil Rights icon and Congressman John Lewis. He passed away at the age of 80.

According to the Associated Press, Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists. This hailed group was led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lewis was elected to congress in November of 1986 and served until his death.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was one of the first to share his condolences in a statement. It reads:

“I am saddened by the death of iconic civil rights leader, Congressman John Lewis. Few have had as powerful and inspiring an impact on our country as Congressman Lewis and America is a better, more equal place because of his sacrifice and leadership. Our nation owes so much to this incredible man.

We served together in Congress for decades, and I was honored to call him my friend. I will never forget Landra and I re-enacting the historic Selma march with him, listening as he described the day he was nearly beaten to death. It had a profound impact on me, like I am sure it has had on so many others. My condolences to his family and the countless friends and admirers who – like Landra and I –  are mourning the loss of this great man.”

Harry Reid, former Senate Majority Leader

Gov. Steve Sisolak Tweeted, “Our country is a better place because of John Lewis. Rest In Peace, Congressman.”

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford also Tweeted, affirming a commitment to continue fighting for equality and justice. “Rest In Peace, @repjohnlewish,” he wrote. “We’ll continue what you started and keep getting in to #GoodTrouble, forever fighting for equality and justice for all.”

Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen released the following statement in response to Rep. Lewis’ passing:

“John Lewis was the heart and soul of America. Born the child of sharecroppers in rural Alabama, John would grow up to change the nation, as a civil rights leader and as a member of Congress. He embodied the values that we all should hold dear: a fierce passion for justice, an infallible conscious, faith in his fellow man, and a will to change the world for the better. It was an honor to call him a colleague during our shared time in the House of Representatives. He will be missed by the entire nation. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time, and with the millions of Americans he inspired to get into good trouble.”

Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto also sent a statement:

“Congressman Lewis grew up the son of Alabama sharecroppers in the Jim Crow South and went on to serve for thirty years in the United States House of Representatives. He was a force for equal rights under the law as a leader in the civil rights movement, and an advocate for Dreamers, LGBTQ Americans, farmworkers and countless others who didn’t have a voice in the halls of power.

As he organized nonviolent protests against systemic racism from lunch counters to the halls of Congress, he never lost sight of his vision. A vision of ‘the beloved community’ where all would be welcomed, treated with dignity and celebrated for their gifts.

Today, Paul and I mourn the loss of a man who forced our nation to reckon with its conscience, a leader with the courage to put his life on the line to make ‘good trouble’ and a visionary whose faith showed us all that there is a way out of hate and darkness: the way of love. We send our deepest condolences to his loved ones and staff during this difficult time.”

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for Culinary Workers Union Local 226, issued a powerful statement. It reads:

“The Culinary Union is proud to have fought alongside our dear friend, Congressman John Lewis, for decades. He was an incredible hero who always stood with and fought for working people in the struggle for equality and justice.

We are grateful for his leadership, fearless courage, years of sacrifice for justice, and support throughout the 6 years, 4 months, and 10 days Frontier Strike through the present-day organizing drive at Stations Casinos. 

We treasure the memory of when Congressman Lewis participated in a 1999 picket at the Venetian Casino regarding the Culinary Union’s campaign to ensure that Las Vegas sidewalks are public, and not private spaces (as the company argued).”

Argüello-Kline went on to say, “As we celebrate Congressman Lewis’ legacy, the Culinary Union will strive to carry on the work every day to make Nevada a place where working families can organize and win for our collective liberation.

Rest in power, brother.”

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