John Lewis, in an essay written shortly before his death July 17, to be published on the day of his funeral:
Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out,
or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about
the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are
all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not
enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us
has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out.
When you see something that is not right, you must say
something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It
is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build
what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world
society at peace with itself.
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of
America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.
Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The
vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a
democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed.
You can lose it.