May 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

John Lewis on protests: Rioting, looting and burning is not the way

Rep. John Lewis standing in the dome of Congress
Photo: Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon, released a statement Saturday night urging protesters to peacefully take to the streets as unrest continues.

What he's saying: "I see you, and I hear you. I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness," he said. "Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote."

  • "Be constructive, not destructive.  History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve," he continued.
  • "Our work won't be easy — nothing worth having ever is — but I strongly believe, as Dr. King once said, that while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice."

The big picture per Axios's Zachary Basu: The 79-year-old civil rights leader has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is often referred to as "the conscience of the House."

  • Lewis helped lead the 1963 March on Washington and has served in the House since 1987.

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