John Lewis - Getting Into Trouble to Fight Injustice

August 8, 2016 - John Lewis 08/08/2016 Views: 2,660

Representative John Lewis talks about leading a protest for gun control on the floor of the House and describes how he got involved in the civil rights movement. (3:48)

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my guest tonightis a U.S. Congressman,

representingGeorgia's Fifth District,

and co-author of the graphicnovel series, March.

Please welcomeCongressman John Lewis.

(cheers and applause)

Welcome.

Thank you.

(cheering, applause continue)

Thank you for being here, sir.

Thank you for having me.

It is truly an honor to be

sitting across a desk from you.

You, uh, are a stalwartof the Civil Rights movement.

A lot of millennialsmay know you, though,

as, uh, that guy from Periscope

who staged the sit-in.

Was that your first Periscope?

Well, it was my first time

seeing other peoplereally use it,

-and make good use of it.-Yeah.

When people cut off the,uh, C-Span...

Yes.

...uh, these young, smart,

colleagues of mine, just get it.

They were able to find a wayto get in the way.

When I was growing up in ruralAlabama and see those signs

that said"White Men, Colored Men,

"White Women, Colored Women,

White Waiting, Colored Waiting,"

my mother and father would say,"Don't get in trouble.

Don't get in the way."

But I got in the way.

I got in trouble.

Good trouble.

Necessary trouble.

(applause and cheering)

You, um...

You said somethingthat I'll read here.

It was really powerful.

You said, uh,

"The sit-inwas just the beginning.

"As long as I have strengthin my body,

"I'm going to do my part,to do what I can.

Disarm hate. Good trouble."

Are you going to do more?

Are the Democratsgoing to do more?

The sit-in was a momentous,uh, you know, action.

In terms of what's happening,background checks,

guns and the proliferationin-in America,

you have a situation whereDemocrats are taking a stand.

The recess happened in Congress.

Is that standard goingto continue now?

Well, we found a way...

or make a way out of no way,

to continue to press the issue.

When you see something thatis not right, not fair,

not just,you have to do something.

You have to move your feet.

You have to say something,

and you have to be preparedto march.

You have done this from,

I think you were 16 at the time.

People talk about the youthof today,

and say they've lost that vigor,

they've lost that passion.

Do you agree, and if so,what do you think it was

that inspired you to goout there and take a stand?

Well, when I was very young,much younger,

had all of my hair,and a few pounds lighter,

I heard of Rosa Parks.

I heard the words of MartinLuther King Jr. on the radio.

The action of Rosa Parks,

the words and leadershipof Dr. King inspired me.

I met Rosa Parks when I was 17.

The next year, at the age of 18,I met Martin Luther King Jr.

And I said I didn't likewhat I saw.

As a matter of fact, with someof my brothers and sisters

and cousins, we went downto the public library

in the little townof Troy, Alabama,

trying to get library cards,trying to check out some books.

And we were toldby the librarian

that the librarywas for whites only,

and not for colors.

I never went backto that building

until July 5, 1998,

for a book signingfor my first book.

And blacks and white citizensshowed up

and they gave me a library card.

-(cheering, applause) -Wow.

Wow.