Democrats Ask Senate To Honor John Lewis By Passing The Voting Rights Advancement Act

Many online are also calling for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to be renamed for Lewis instead.

Getty Images / John Lewis is seen near the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Capitol Rotunda before a memorial service for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings

The U.S. House of Representatives held a moment of silence Monday to honor the late Rep. John Lewis, who passed away on July 17 at 80 years old after decades representing Georgia in Congress. Democrats in both the House and the Senate also called for  the passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act to honor the memory of the civil rights hero.

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) helped lead the moment of silence.

“The world is a better place because John Lewis spent his life pursuing freedom, justice, opportunity, love and peace for all of humanity,” he said.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a longtime colleague of Lewis released a sentimental statement following his passing, calling him a “titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation.”

Pelosi also said during a CBS interview Monday that another way to honor Lewis’ memory would be for the Senate to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring up for a vote. The act was championed by Lewis and passed by House Democrats in December 2019 to restore certain protections of the original 1965 Voting Rights Act intended to combat racial discrimination. The Supreme Court invalidated a crucial part of the Act in 2013 in a highly controversial decision.

Several Senate Democrats also called for the recent voting rights act to be brought to Senate floor for a vote and renamed in Lewis’ honor. 

A lifelong civil rights advocate, Lewis played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement by organizing lunch counter sit-ins, participating in the Freedom Rides, and helping to lead the march for voting rights across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, where he and other demonstrators were severely attacked by state and local police in what became known as Bloody Sunday. He also served as the U.S. representative for Georgia's 5th Congressional District for more than three decades.

To honor his memory, many people are calling for the bridge in Selma—named for former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Edmund Pettus—to be renamed after Lewis instead. 

Lewis died on Friday after a six-month battle with cancer. He also passed away on the same day as fellow civil rights veteran C.T. Vivian.