Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said the Black Lives Matter movement “must understand” the way of peace and nonviolence.
Lewis, one of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders, said many young people are using his series of March books on the Civil Rights Movement as a guide.
“I think many of the young people all over America, high school students, college students and even elementary school students, are reading the book and they are able to associate the story, my story, my involvement in the Civil Rights Movement with what is happening in America today,” Lewis told PJM at the National Press Club Book Fair in Washington. “It is teaching people the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence and this young man, [co-author] Andrew Aydin, had the idea that we should do this book.”
Lewis provided his assessment of how the Civil Rights Movement compares with the Black Lives Matter movement of today.
“When we first got involved, before we had gone on the sit-in of the freedom ride, before the March on Washington or March from Selma, we studied the way of peace, the way of life, the way of nonviolence and we accepted nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living. So the young people involved in the Black Lives Matter movement must understand, and many of these people are reading this book and using it as a guide,” Lewis said.
He added that protesters as well as “police officers and law enforcement people should understand the significance of people coming together and engaging in dialogue.”
During the first Democratic presidential debate on Oct. 13, the candidates were asked if black lives matter or if all lives matter. None of the candidates said all lives matter in their answers. Lewis was asked the same question.
“I’m not going to get into a debate of whether black lives matter or all lives matter. We are all living human beings and we all matter,” he responded.
Anti-racism activist Tim Wise recently recommended that new police officers be required to spend their first 90 days on the job as community organizers without guns rather than law enforcers.
Lewis was asked if agreed with that idea.
“There was a sheriff who came out of the movement, his name was Thomas Gilmore in rural Alabama, he was a nonviolent sheriff, he never wore a gun and people respected him, just his very presence,” Lewis said.
Sista Soulja, author of Moment of Silence, also appeared at the book fair. In a recent interview, she shared her opinion of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“She reminds me too much of the slave plantation white wife of the white ‘Master.’ She talks down to people, is condescending and pandering,” she wrote on an index card during the interview. “She even talked down to the commander in chief, President Barack Obama, while she was under his command!”
When PJM asked Sista Soulja about her comments, she replied, “I said everything I wanted to say on that topic in that interview on that card and I am really trying very hard to not engage in loose talk, and then my words kind of get scrambled around and I have to spend a great deal of time clarifying.”