Mr. Lewis is best known - and rightly so - for his non-violent commitment to civil rights. I was listening to a podcast retrospective on his life, and the speaker talked about the strength required to follow the precepts of non-violence. Non-violence demands that, not only do you allow yourself to be beaten, but, as you are being beaten, you love the other person, and you realize that the other person is caught in the same trap as you, and that your mission must to be to save that person and yourself, by changing the system.
Our time, now, is full of anger, and demands for needed change. And, no doubt, we as a people must commit ourselves to tamping down the virus that afflicts us; to re-building our local economy and supporting our suffering community; and demanding social justice.
But, as Bill McKibben argues in his most recent book, we increasingly occupy a place in history where these questions are no longer isolated, no longer either/or, no longer things we can deal with one at a time. No, these problems demand simultaneous solutions.
Congressman Lewis realized that, when we damage the environment, the people who pay the price, are the poor; and, disproportionately, people of color.
When the environment suffers, the economic cost - think wildfires - hurts us as badly as a virus.
And, when the environment suffers, the health impacts to all of humanity are becoming clearly transparent; indeed, the WHO has declared Climate Change to be this century's defining health issue.
The people of Fairfax have it in us to deal with the health crisis that faces us. We have it in us to support our local businesses and our local people. We have it in us to find ways to advance the cause of social justice.
What we must do to advance all of these causes is to follow Congressman Lewis' lead, and to come together to change the trajectory of climate change.
“When we take our air, waters and land for granted; when we show a simple lack of respect for nature and our environment, we unmake God’s good creation — John Lewis”
Thank you Congressman, for showing us the way.