Georgia Rep. John Lewis surprised attendees at this year’s Bloody Sunday commemorative march in Selma, Alabama, rousing some “good trouble” as always as he urged attendees to vote.
“Fifty-five years ago, a few of God’s children attempted to march … across this bridge. We were beaten, we were tear-gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and some way, God almighty helped me here,” Lewis said during his remarks on Sunday at the apex of the bridge, CNN reports. “We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before.”
The iconic civil rights leader encouraged those attending to use their vote as “a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America.”
Until Lewis showed up, it was unclear whether he would be able to participate in the 55th-anniversary commemorations, having been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer back in December.
However, Lewis, whose skull was fractured by white officers on that very bridge on Bloody Sunday as he marched for Black voting rights told CNN‘s Ana Cabrera that “it was very moving to be back on the bridge.”
“To see hundreds and thousands of young people with their mothers, their fathers, their grandparents, great grandparents, to see Black and White people, Hispanics, and others standing together, marching together, walking together, to not forget what happened and how it happened,” he said.
“We got to make America better for all of her people. When no one is left out or left behind, because of their race, their color, because of where they grew up, or where they were born,” he added. “We’re one people, we’re one family.”