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17 Powerful John Lewis Quotes About Social Justice

Leah Sugerman

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Alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, John Lewis was a champion in the fight for civil rights and social justice. As an activist, politician, and statesman, he served in the US House of Representatives for 33 years.

It’s easy to think that the civil rights movement is a part of the distant past and that American society has made leaps and bounds since that time. But John Lewis only just passed away on July 17, 2020.

Black Americans and all people of color and minority groups have suffered intolerable injustices and this is not history. There is still so much work to be done in the fight for equality and justice.

Activists from the civil rights movement are still alive today, but that generation is slowly passing on.

Brave men and women like John Lewis fought for equality, social justice, and basic humanity, and as the next generation, that batton has been passed on to us to continue their fight for a better, more equitable world.

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These 17 John Lewis Quotes Will Inspire You to Continue the Fight for Lasting Change:


    1. “Too many of us still believe our differences define us.”
    2. “You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.”
  • “Never let anyone – any person or any force – dampen, dim, or diminish your light.”
    1. “You have to have the capacity and the ability to take what people did, and how they did it, and forgive them and move on.”
    2. “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
  • “Never be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
    1. “Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Never lose that sense of hope.”
    2. “Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness.”
  • “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
    1. “Sometimes you have to get in the way. You have to make some noise by speaking up and speaking out against injustice and inaction.”
    2. “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile.”
  • “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference.”
    1. “You have to take the long, hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.”



    1. “We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.”
  • “We must respect the dignity and worth of every human being.”
  1. “Change often takes time. It rarely happens all at once.”
  2. “Those of us who are committed to the cause of justice need to pace ourselves because the struggle does not last for one day, one week, or one year, but it is the struggle of a lifetime, and each generation must do its part.”

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John Lewis was a giant to the many lives that he touched with his noble work. The many inspiring quotes that he spoke continue to ring through the ears of each life that he altered.

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May his memory be an inspiration to us all – to continue fighting for social justice, and continue getting into some “good trouble, necessary trouble” along the way.

May his memory and his inspiring words aid us in our quest to create a better world for all future generations to enjoy.

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