Today I went inside my email and maybe like some of you, you got this in your inbox.
This email brought back my meetings with Congressman Lewis and one in particuliar in 2004 with our teenage daughter, Brandy.
This was the email I received and then I will proceed to tell you about the man I was so blessed to speak with.
Subject Line: They don't want you to vote
Amanda --Please jump below the squiggly
This is deeply personal for me.
I've been marching and preaching and fighting for voting rights for over 50 years. Today, we're seeing a deliberate and systematic effort on the part of Republican officials to prevent minorities, seniors, the young, and the poor from casting their ballots.
Republicans are intent on beating my friend Lois Frankel and we can't let them steal this election. We must do everything we can to protect the vote. We set a goal by Sunday to make sure we have 100 voters standing up for Lois.
Will you stand with Lois and help today so we can make sure she wins this November?
Lois believes like I do that voting is critical to our society and it matters. We must do everything we can to protect the vote. Too many courageous people have fought to secure the vote. Don't let it be taken away. Stand up for Lois and help us today with a gift. Please contribute now.
The year was 2004. I was engaged in the Kerry Campaign. I was calling and trying to attend as many rallys as I could. I had just had a visit from the C-Span Bus and was hyped about the 2004 election including a Get out the Vote CD of narration of which I put together of facts and either sold cheap or gave away. I know all the proceeds went to helping veterans.
I think Doc Zombie may still have a copy of it. There were months of research going into that CD. My husband helped me record it digitally before we mastered it in a studio. We were in Georgia.
The Kerry Campaign was holding a rally in Atlanta and I decided on Saturday, I would attend that Sunday rally. I asked our 13 year old if she wanted to go and she did.
We found a parking spot and got out of the car and walked to see the lines and of course the Bush protestors across the street. We walked into the Indoor arena, and I had the CD with me. I carried it with me but no camera. I was waiting for the rally to begin when I was asked to join Veterans on stage. I remember I had my husband's jacket that displayed 101st and Helping Vets displayed on it.
Brandy was thrilled that
we were on stage and getting to be standing with Sen. Kerry and I spotted Sen Cleland and went to talk with him a bit and then took my place back on stage with vets and advocates.
My daughter was so hyped regarding that rally that she was all aflutter. After the rally, still on stage, Congressman Lewis walked over to her and they started talking about school and the soon to be voters of tomorrow. I was talking to Senator Cleland and walked back to shake hands with Congressman Lewis. He was going out of his way to speak to all he could. We were not behind any rope lines so we had access to everyone that was on the stage.
People were lining up and taking pictures and we walked outside to go to the car when I remember I had forgotten to hand that CD to
Congressman Lewis or Sen. Cleland. I noticed a glowing, well dressed black gentleman walking not far from us. I immediately took her by the hand and said, " Let's go" I got to give this CD to Congressman Lewis. We walked briskly to catch up with him before he got in his ride, I was sure was about to pick him up.
I caught up with Congressman Lewis, and he remembered us and said, " We meet again". I observed this beautiul soul who is not a tall man but a giant in my eyes. He said, " Young lady, if you ever want me to come speak at your school, just give me a call". We were not in his district but it did not matter as he offered to come to her school. She was overwhelmed when he handed her his card. She then said, "My Mom said you knew Martin Luther King". This is where the story got really great for me. He looked at me and said, " I did know Dr. King and he was a good friend." He turned to me and said, " I love to see parents engaging their children in the election and voting process. It is my whole life". I remarked, " Congressman Lewis, I appreciate all you have done for the voting rights.
I appreciate your sacrafice and patience of which I am not blessed to posses to have faced the things that you and Dr. King faced and honored to be here in your company.
I then said, " When we spoke a few minutes ago, I was so overwhelmed with the moment that I forgot to get you this Get out the Vote CD that I made and I want you to have". He looked down at the CD. I told him it was a narration of why we should vote and all we could do if we voted democratic.
Congressman Lewis said, " I fear there may come a time that those battles will have to be refought. I hope not." I shook my head and said, Congressman, that time came in 2000 but I hope you do not mean on a national level again. " He said, " Well, I pray that time never comes". He then said, "Thank you for your activism on getting out the vote and I want to come to this young lady's school. Just call my office and we will arrange for that to happen. " It never happened beause my daughter was discouraged in school from having Congressman Lewis visit. We were not allowed to bring the C-Span school bus to her High School for a FREE presentation of media arts when they came down. Why? Because Villa Rica High School is a redneck backwards school that I fought on more than one occasion later on.
John Lewis is soft spoken, and gentle and radiates of pure goodness. I noticed that lump on his head and on the way home from the rally I couldn't stop Brandy from being so hyper as I thought back to the days of voter suppression and I want my husband to meet John Lewis. He missed that rally and to this day he holds that white card, engraved in gold in a special box.
Please get out the vote. Please remember people like Congressman Lewis and help him help Lois Frankel and other democrats. Remember how he was treated by the tea party in August 2010 and remember he had time for a child and to encourage her to be involved. He told me he was going to give the CD to the DNC for me. I was thrilled.
Courage and Heroes, like John Lewis, I have been blessed to converse with, and I count them as some of our better angels, still mortal. After that email came, today with that subject line, I thought, your worst fear has arrived.
My daughter, Brandy I have my arm around and the jacket I wore to the Rally, my husband is wearing. This was taken in front of the Cspan bus that came to give me that award that I am proud of.