U.S. Congressman John Lewis was the keynote speaker at the ceremony where “The Boulevard” in Richmond was renamed “Arther Ashe Boulevard” to honor the late tennis great and native son.
“When we came over the ocean 400 years ago to this land, we learned to pick cotton…Sometimes we were beaten and left for dead,” said Lewis during the ceremony in front of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. “But we never gave up, we never gave in, we never lost hope, we kept the faith and we kept our eyes on the prize.
“I know there are some people in America today saying, nothing has changed,” he continued. “But let me tell you, we live in a different America. We no longer have to count the number of jellybeans in a jar…because somebody, somewhere, and sometimes gave a little blood.
“We must turn out and vote like we never, ever voted before. Our democracy is in trouble. Deep trouble.
“We must save our democracy and save our country,” he said. “We must do it…It’s time for us to get in trouble again – good trouble, necessary trouble.”
“My philosophy is very simple: when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just – say something! Do something!” Lewis said.
“You cannot afford to be silent. How can we be silent when our government is taking little babies from their mothers and their fathers and putting them in cages? I’m sick and tired…of what is happening on so many levels in our government.
“I think it’s time for us to get in the way,” he said. “We’ve got to stop the madness. We should have the right to be safe at school. We don’t need all of these guns. We must stop the killing and put an end to the violence. “Never get lost in a sea of despair. Keep your eyes on the prize/ We are one people.”