LIMA — Lima remembered civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis on Saturday with an event at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center in Lima.
“He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a pastor. He was one of the pioneers that walked the bridge in Selma, Alabama,” said Derry Glenn, 6th Ward Lima councilor. “John was strong as a congressman. He was a pioneer, a trailblazer, and he was dynamic. John did a lot of work, and hopefully one day we could name a holiday after John Lewis.”
The civil rights champion died July 17, 2020. Saturday’s event included awarding two Good Trouble Awards in honor of Lewis and several awards to middle school students who were winners in an essay contest.
Rev. Ronald Fails, president of the Lima chapter of the NAACP, was one of the speakers. He grew up in Selma, Alabama, and saw the civil rights movement blossom.
“John Lewis really showed us what it means to remember. He did what he did not because he had to, he did it because he cared,” Fails said. “You can become whatever you desire to be if you don’t give up, if you don’t lose hope.”
Jamie Dixon, 5th Ward Lima councilor, and Autumn Swanson, former neighborhood specialist for the city of Lima and a candidate for Lima mayor, were presented with John Lewis awards.
Dixon was appreciative of the things John Lewis did, getting into what Lewis would call “good trouble.”
“What they are saying is go out and find a way to right the wrongs of society,” Dixon said. “So when you think of Lima, how can Lima become better and become a place where we all can live, play and grow? One thing I think we can do as adults is continue to educate ourselves and educate those around us to make sure that we are educated on the facts, the issues locally, statewide as well as federal, but also taking those things that we’ve learned through the education and our research and making sure that we educate the youth that comes behind us.”
Swanson said she looked to Lewis as an example.
“I grew up in a small town, and there weren’t many people that looked like me, and so I did a lot of reading,” Swanson said. “I read about Martin Luther King, I read about John Lewis, Malcolm X, all the things that we do, to understand our history. But one thing that I took from John Lewis was that he really had a good mentor. He was inspired by someone older than him. He had someone to look up to, and you know who that was? Martin Luther King. He had him for inspiration.
“One thing I know is if you have a good role model and you look up to them and they’re successful, you know what happens? When you look up to that person and you strive to be like that person, you’ll probably surpass them in your success.”
After the awards, attendees were allowed to take home free clothing and free food.
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