Congressman John Lewis Speech at 2011 JJ Dinner

June 28, 2011

We are one party, we are one people, we are one family, we all live in one house, the Democratic house.
It doesn’t matter whether we are black or white, Latino, Asian-American, or Native American: we are one.
And we must look out for each another.

There are some in Washington, some time I feel,
maybe they were just born mean.
Sometime I feel they go to be mean,
and they get up mean,
and they just mean all day long.

But our party is a party that know how to be good to people.
Know how to look after people.

Put people to work.
We create jobs!

We don’t go around looking in peoples’ bedrooms.
You heard what I said.

We don’t go around saying because of your last name,
or the language you speak that you’re illegal.
In my book, no human being is illegal.

Maybe just maybe our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships.
But we’re all in the same boat now.

There are people who want to take Medicare and privatize it,
end Social Security, and we must say no to that!
We have an obligation, we have a contract, with our senior citizens.

There are people who want to treat women and little children
like they don’t exist.
That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not just. That don’t even look good.
So we got to do something about that.

Not just here in Georgia but all around our nation,
here in this state, our party got to get out there and organize,
mobilize, and register your victory and vote like we never voted before.
We can do it, and we must do it!
We must make Georgia good again!
We can do it!
Let’s make this state good!

I am ready to travel not just in this district, but all around this state to help.
We got to do it.
We’ve got to make it possible for president Barack Obama to take care of this state.

We must elect more Democrats to the Georgia legislature.
We can do it.
Get out there and fight.
You’ll be fine.
Don’t be weary.
We can do it.

Gretchen: Yes we can!
Others: Yes we can!

I just want to give you one example.
Fifty years ago, we were going to ride to Montgomery Alabama on the Freedom Ride.
We were beaten. Left bloody.
The governor of Alabama at the time told his aides to tell president Kennedy
that he was going to go fishing; he couldn’t find protection for us.
The governor was forty years old then.

A few days ago we had an opportunity to meet with the former governor.
He’s now ninety.
He encouraged the people in Montgomery and in Alabama to save the old bus station.
He encouraged them to make it a Freedom Ride museum.

He had lunch with us, 20 of the Freedom Riders, at the courthouse.
He apologized over and over again.
He said, you young people were brave and courageous.
That’s what the movement was all about.
To bring about change and be reconciled.
To build peace in the community.

That’s what I love about the Democratic party in Georgia.
We can build a new house!
A better house!
One community!
One house!
We all live in the same house, and we must never, ever forget it!
That’s how we’re going to make it!
That’s how we’re going to take this state back!
We can do it!
Let’s do it!
Let’s go and vote Democrat!
Stand up!
Stand up for the people!
Thank you very much.


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