On August 29, as fast food workers around the country went out on strike, Rep. John Lewis showed up to support strikers in Atlanta, saying:
Let me thank you for all that you're doing. All over the country, there are hundreds and hundreds of people engaging in similar protests. So I wanted to come and just lend my voice and maybe walk some. You must remember, 50 years ago yesterday, when I was 23 years old, had all of my hair, and a few pounds lighter, we marched for jobs and freedom. We're still marching for jobs. We need more—MORE—than the minimum wage. We need a livable wage.
I don't understand, I do not understand how people survive when they are being paid starvation wages. In a country like ours, we can do much better. I saw one sign saying 'wages.' Stop spending hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of dollars on war. Spend some of our resources to pay people a decent wage. When we marched on Washington 50 years ago, I said we don't have anything to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers and sisters cannot be here for they're receiving starvation wages. And the same thing is true 50 years later. How can people live? How can you make it? [Turning to woman next to him, hugging her.] You have four children. And trying to send her son to college.
That's not right, that's not fair, that's not just. What you have to do is stick together and never ever give up, or give in. They said back in the 60s that we couldn't win. That we couldn't get a Civil Rights Act, that we couldn't get a Voting Rights Act, we couldn't get a Fair Housing Act. But we did it.
Sometimes you have to use your marching feet and sometimes you have to make a little noise. When I spoke at the march on Saturday, I said we need to make some noise. And sometimes we're too quiet.
Sometime you have to find a way to make a way out of no way. Sometime you have to find a way to get in the way. I know some of your coworkers may be a little afraid. But you must tell them, don't be afraid. Be of good courage.
We must remember that Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, died in Memphis trying to help the sanitation workers. That's what this is all about. Some people are getting richer and richer and doing better and doing better and others are getting poor and poor.
That's not right! That's not fair! That's not just! So get out there, keep walking, keep marching, keep talking, keep pushing, and keep pulling, and you will have a great victory, and you can count on my help.