John Lewis made one final appeal to the American people on Thursday in the form of an op-ed written before he passed away. The column was published on the day of his funeral.
“Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe,” the subheading reads.
“While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me,” Lewis wrote.
“You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society.”
“Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.”
Lewis’ final message to the country focused on racial justice, Civil Rights and the ongoing struggle for equality. He also called on Americans to rise the challenge.
“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe,” Lewis wrote.
“In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”
“When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war.”
“So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide,” he wrote.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media