Rep. John Lewis remembers his critics too… It’s impressive how much unsolicited advice the Black Lives Matter movement and leaders have gotten. Focus on this, do that, you have no agenda, you’re too aggressive… It’s also interesting to note that 99 percent of the advice has come from those who have never been activists, organizers or have even led a one car parade.
The group of unsolicited “advisors” includes a group that isn’t even on record as having run a one car parade much less a protest movement. The group includes Ben Carson, Iyanla Vanzant, Barrett Holmes Pitner, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jerome Hudson and linguistics teacher John McWhorter. What qualifies these people to advise people to do what they have never done is anyone’s guess but they’re chock full of ideas. Beauties like “focus on another topic” and “embrace the Democrats.”
There is someone out there who can lend a perspective to Black Lives Matter that no one else can who knows what it’s like for elders and establishment figures be critical. That person would be civil rights legend John Lewis (D-GA). Lewis was asked about whether the same criticism came his way when he led the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Predictably the answer was yes.
“In 1961, there was a prominent lawyer who told me, ‘John you need to stop going to Mississippi and Alabama getting your head busted open. Just let us lawyers take a case for you to the Supreme Court…’ — and I said: We need a mass movement. Not just lawyers, but hundreds of thousands of people must be involved to bring about change,” said Lewis on Capitol Hill today.
And what would Lewis say about the critics of the Black Lives Matter movement when they say the group should focus on other issues in the Black community? Lewis said the people who keep saying that should stop talking and do something.
“Those people should do something. Make their own movement. Create their own struggle. People use to ask me when I was a student at Fisk ‘what should we do?” I said, find a way to dramatize the issue. We all can do something,” he answered.
Lewis is fond of saying “get in the way” when it comes to stopping injustice.
“Don’t be quiet. Get up and push and pull and make some noise,” the civil rights legend added.
Few social movements confronting controversial issues happen quietly and without controversy. So far, Black Lives Matter has not been quiet. As a result, a national discussion around policing and justice issues has prompted several candidates running for President to at last address the issue.