Tag Archive: John Lewis

Civil Rights Hero Rep. John Lewis Gives a Shout-Out to Equality for New Jersey

Today – in Trenton – is a big day on our road to marriage equality (details below). But yesterday, Blue Jersey was at the U.S. Supreme Court as the landmark decisions on marriage came down – DOMA and Prop 8. The crowd of several thousand outside the Court – jubilant and from all over the country – parted when Rep. John Lewis walked up the sidewalk and into the crowd. This is the man who was by Martin Luther King’s side, as a young man. And who has fought for equality all his life. There was a rush to greet him, which accounts for the bobble in our video quality and sound.

A lot of the people who won’t give up on equality are massing in an hour – 11:30am – on the State House steps, with announcements of what to come at noon, from equality partners Garden State Equality, ACLU-NJ, and Lambda Legal.

Watch this, from D.C., right after DOMA was struck down. John Lewis turns to our camera and gives a shout out directly to all of us fighting for equality in New Jersey. Never give up.

CD9: Pascrell gets air support from Rep. John Lewis, Team Rothman says Lewis was “duped”

Few things carry the power of a call in support for a candidate from a respected leader. Fewer things are more tricky to overcome for an opponent than a call from a respected leader that comes as your voters are headed to the polls. That may be the effect that Georgia congressman John Lewis’ robo-call into CD9 for Bill Pascrell this morning may have. (call text below the fold) This follows an ugly night of concern by Team Rothman of vote tampering, a charge by Team Pascrell of racism in Rothman’s ranks, then this morning that robo-call for Pascrell from a fellow House Democrat who sat at Martin Luther King’s right hand and carries great credibility in matters of racism. But Team Rothman says Lewis was “duped”:

“What a shameful, shameful, terrible act of desperation by the Pascrell campaign. Shameful. It’s shameful he was duped like that. You’re supposed to be able to examine vote for mail ballots before they’re opened. But that’s okay, we’re feeling good. We’re confident it’s going to be a good day.”

Last night, CD9 was New Jersey’s election flashpoint. A lawyer for the Steve Rothman campaign raised a red flag about possible irregulaties, including a Paterson storefront covered in Pascrell signs where passers-by were being told they could fill out vote-by-mail ballots inside. Rothman’s campaign wanted more time to examine the ballots before they were opened. Passaic County Elections Superintendent Robert J. DeMers Jr. ordered the ballots impounded. But late last night that order was vacated by a Superior Court Judge. That judge gave the Rothman campaign a 90-minute head start this morning at 6am, before the Board of Elections opening and counting them at 7:30am.  

Rep. John Lewis: Civil Rights Should Not Be Decided by Referendum

Rep. John Lewis, one of the most important figures in the Civil Rights Movement, stopped at the Trenton Train Station today with Congressman Rush Holt, Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senate Majority Leader and Blue Jerseyan Loretta Weinberg, DSC Chair and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson to denounce Chris Christie’s call for civil rights to be decided by referendum.

Lewis, on his way with Holt to an event for 150 Trenton teenagers where he was speaking on civil rights history, made the point that should have been obvious to Christie: if civil rights had been decided by referendum in states such as Mississippi and Alabama – where Lewis said he “gave a little blood” on the march from Selma to Montgomery – it would have failed. And the fact that it would have failed would not have made the cause less just. Lewis said that the proper place for civil rights was through legislation, executive action, and the courts – the avenues that, rather than referendums, produced the changes that the mass movement made happen.

Lewis directly linked that fight to today’s marriage equality fight, focusing heavily on the legendary Loving v. Virginia case on interracial marriage and stating that he found it analogous and a basic question of human rights.

Holt and Oliver delivered strong remarks – and Holt deserves particular credit for bringing Congressman Lewis to New Jersey.

Christie’s attempts to backtrack this morning on the remarks brought their own new level of ridiculousness, labeling Reed Gusciora as “numbnuts.” Especially after today’s visit, it won’t be so easy for Christie to shrug off comments that debase the legacy of true leaders like Lewis.

Sunscreen, deck chairs, and political illiteracy – the Kill the Bill Rally in D.C.

I was in D.C. yesterday at the Code Red Rally to Kill the Bill on Capitol Hill. You’ve already heard the most egregious news:

Kill the Bill Rally sign (Tea Party) March 2010 in D.C.

Congressmen John Lewis called a nigger.

Congressman Barney Frank called a faggot.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver spat on.

An afternoon in the sun with my overwrought, but politically/historically illiterate, countrymen is an eye-opener. Reasonable arguments can be made against this bill – from both sides – but I heard none of them yesterday. What I heard convinced me more that the Tea Party, out in force in our nation’s capital, is likely to do more harm to the GOP than it may do to us. From a civic perspective, I have to like that the Tea Party brings out masses previously disengaged, but as yet they haven’t moved beyond fist-waving. They generate noise, but so does a tantruming 3-year-old, with as much historical perspective.

We encountered mostly non-voters (I asked) who wanted to “take over” Congress with no recognition of the irony that they already have the power to do that, but fail to exercise it. The rhetoric was 100% spewage from Glenn Beck in a universe where talk show hosts are deemed 100% credible.

These people simply didn’t know stuff. Old guys on Medicare “horrified” at government health care. A lady: this “takes away my Medicare.” Her friend: “no, it means we have to take Medicare whether we want to or not.” Reconciliation demonized, but eyes glaze with the news that all major changes in health care in 3 decades came via reconciliation … and Republicans use it too.

Tea Party tries to liberate

Rayburn Office Bldg. (click to enlarge)

Tea Party tries to liberate Rayburn House Office Building After a couple hours rallyers were supposed to lobby. But it was a nice day, and lobbying’s not fun like a lawn party. So, as conservative star power like Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), Mike Pence (R-Indiana), Tom Price (R-Georgia) and Marcia Blackburn (R-TN), and a coiffed, shiny Jon Voight moved among adoring white people, rallyers re-applied sunscreen and looked for trouble.  A mob tried to liberate the Rayburn House Office Building, bewildered as to why Capitol Police denied them overtake of the building.

More photos from Invesco

I couldn’t get an internet signal at Invesco, so these are pretty late. The crowd was incredible and I don’t think I can explain how exciting it was.  Everyone got American flags, and some strong fellows got huge flags they waved for hours.

Invesco Crowd