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DREF Remembers Faithful Civil Rights Leaders

The Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) joins the nation and our global communities in remembering the life and legacy of two faithful civil rights leaders: The Honorable John Lewis, a democratic Congressman from Georgia and The Rev. C.T. Vivian, a minister and author. Both distinguished gentlemen were residents of Atlanta, GA and they passed on the same day, July 17, 2020. Click on the headline to read more.
DREF Remembers Faithful Civil Rights Leaders

The Honorable John Lewis & Rev. C.T. Vivian

The iconic civil rights leaders worked alongside The Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. in the fight for racial equality, and they were integral in coordinating the Freedom Rides of the 1960s and organizing voter registration of Black people throughout the South.  Congressman Lewis and Rev. Vivian were severely beaten in Selma, Alabama as their efforts to register voters were suppressed. They did not let anything turn them around; they were continuously Standing Firm for what was just and what was right.  Their commitment to achieving justice and equality spanned decades.  DREF President Carolyn E. Lewis stated: “We are, because they were.  We have the right to vote because of the unwavering, anointed leadership of Congressman Lewis and Rev. Vivian.”  She added: “We are grateful for the ‘Good Trouble’ they experienced, our nation is better for it. Let us honor their memory and uphold their legacy by continuing to eliminate voter suppression wherever it exists. 

On behalf of the DREF Board of Directors, staff, and its stakeholders, DREF extends sincere condolences to the families of Congressman Lewis and Rev. Vivian.  May the hearts of their family members be comforted and may their loved ones rest in power. As these two civil rights leaders join the ancestors, excerpts from Maya Angelou’s poem When Great Trees Fall are shared in tribute to their memory:

"...When great trees fall 
in the forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses eroded beyond fear. 
 
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with a hurtful clarity…
 
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us…
 
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.”

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