Jun 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Civil rights icon John Lewis visits new Black Lives Matter Plaza in D.C.

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) visited the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., where demonstrators held a massive protest Saturday over the death of George Floyd, according to Fox 5 D.C.

What they're saying: "I think the people in D.C. and around the nation are sending a mighty powerful and strong message to the rest of the world that we will get there," Lewis, the last living speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, said.

  • Lewis was joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who announced the plaza's new name on Friday. He said renaming the plaza, which lies in front of the White House, was "very moving" and "very impressive."

The big picture: Lewis did not say whether he agreed or disagreed with the “Defund the Police” message that demonstrators added to the "Black Lives Matter" sign painted on 16th Street Saturday night, but said that activists should be heard.

  • On May 31, Lewis urged protesters to peacefully take to the streets, 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."
  • In December 2019, Lewis' office announced that he is undergoing treatment for stage four pancreatic cancer.

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