John Lewis passed away nearly four months ago, but the congressman’s impact is still being felt, especially as America heads to the polls. In a closing speech in support of his former VP Joe Biden in Georgia yesterday (Nov. 2), former President Barack Obama reminded voters of the civil rights legend’s legacy.
“When John Lewis started marching across that bridge, it didn’t eliminate racism and bigotry in America, but it started something that got the Voting Rights Act passed. And it made things better,” Obama said, referencing the 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Ala where Lewis’ skull was fractured by police.
Obama continued, “I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done as president — but I could say when I looked back at the end of eight years, ‘You know what, the country is better off now than it was when I took office.’”
He also reminded people of when Lewis ran for office, “The fact that we don’t get 100 percent of what we want is not good enough reason not to vote…[Lewis] ran for office all those years and kept protesting even while he was in office because he understood they’re two sides of the same coin. It’s us acting on behalf of our highest aspirations even though we know we won’t get there.”
The civil rights legend died of pancreatic cancer at age 80 on July 17. He was eulogized by Obama, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
Watch the Obama’s powerful words from the Atlanta rally below: