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New Foundation Set To Launch Honoring Late Congressman John Lewis And His Wife Lillian

New Foundation Set To Launch Honoring Late Congressman John Lewis And His Wife Lillian

The foundation will continue his mission of “good trouble.”

A new foundation set to launch is honoring the late Congressman John Lewis and his wife Lillian Miles Lewis, The Hill reports. 

Civil rights pioneer John Lewis passed away in July 2020, nearly 8 years after his wife, Lillian Miles Lewis. Lewis served in Congress, representing Georgia for over three decades, advocating for voting rights and civil rights for all people. After his passing, Democrats honored Lewis by announcing the Voting Rights Advancement Act, focused on reinstating the oversight power of the Voting Rights Act which has been scaled back recently. The family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also launched the #ForJohn campaign in Lewis’ honor, advocating for a comprehensive voting rights protection bill. 

"Our democracy is under attack. Our elected officials need to recognize the urgent moment we're in and act now to protect voting rights and ensure American democracy is upheld. #ForJohn will support the legacy of our family friend John Lewis and maintain pressure on Congress to pass reforms," Martin Luther King III said.

Now, a new foundation has been established to honor the Lewises, the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation announcing their launch on what would have been the civil rights advocate’s 82nd birthday. The foundation will kick off with a gala this May, which will serve as “a collective moment of reflection on the life and legacy of the civil rights icon John Lewis and also celebrate the Lewises’ vision and values.”

Lewis’ longtime chief of staff Linda Earley Chastang is serving as president of the foundation and a board member alongside Michael E. Collins, who also served as Lewis’ chief of staff and senior adviser. He will also be the board’s chairman emeritus. 

“Throughout their lives, the Lewises consistently demonstrated their love of learning, their unwavering devotion to helping others and their steadfast commitment to peace and building the ‘beloved community.’ They were dedicated to creating a world in which the dignity and worth of every human being is recognized and valued. We are honored to advance the Lewises’ vision,” said Chastang. 

John-Miles Lewis, son of John and Lillian, said the foundation was initially established by his father and the goal is to continue the legacy of his parents. 

“[The foundation works to] ensure that future generations have the tools and support to create their own Good Trouble, realizing the Lewises’ dream that the power of individuals can reimagine and build a better society,” said John-Miles. 

The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation gala will take place May 17, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Proceeds raised from the gala will go towards foundation initiatives furthering the values of the late couple. 

Photo Courtesy of Linda Schaeffer/Associated Press