House Democrats commemorated the one-year anniversary marking the death of the late Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, on Saturday, with some using the occasion to renew their call for voting-rights legislation.
Mr. Lewis, who died at the age of 80 on July 17, 2020, was remembered by former colleagues as a champion of civil rights, particularly when it came to advancing racial justice.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, referred to Mr. Lewis as a “great American” as well as a “preacher for peace” who worked towards the “beloved community.”
“We miss John Lewis. We remember John Lewis. Let us follow John Lewis’s example, working towards the beloved community,” Mr. Hoyer said in a video.
Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, called for voting legislation bearing Mr. Lewis’s name.
“We ought to honor his memory and life’s work by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and protecting the right to vote,” Mr. Clyburn tweeted.
Mr. Lewis is recognized for his leadership during the civil rights movement. During his work to advance racial equality, Mr. Lewis was arrested more than 40 times.
The late lawmaker, who was nicknamed the “conscience of Congress,” became the first Black person to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol last year.
Rep. Drew Ferguson, Georgia Republican, called Mr. Lewis an “American hero,” noting his respect for the late congressman despite political differences.
“While John [and] I didn’t always agree on politics, he was always a gracious friend [and] colleague,” Mr. Ferguson wrote on Twitter. “John was a leader with a humble heart whose tenacity will be remembered for generations.”
A group of lawmakers, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also traveled to San Diego on Saturday to attend the christening of the USNS John Lewis by the United States Navy.
Mr. Lewis was also remembered by former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and President Biden.
“Days before he died one year ago today, Jill and I spoke with John Lewis for the last time,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “He asked us to remain focused on the unfinished work – his life’s work – of healing and uniting this nation. With John’s spirit guiding us, we must be unafraid and never give up.”