A longtime friend and supporter of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Lewis leads and annual civil rights pilgrimage for members of congress to Montgomery to mark the anniversary of the 1965 voting rights march from Selma.
As the SPLC welcomes new President and Chief Executive Officer Margaret Huang, Lewis shared the following message of support:
I am glad to be joining with all of you at the Southern Poverty Law Center at a moment when your work is more critical than ever. Today, we are witnessing an incredible transformation of our world – and at the same time, we see the continuation of the struggle in which we’ve been engaged for the last many decades. While this pandemic has had an awful impact on our economy, on our social engagements, and on our political arena, it has not changed the urgent mission of overturning the ugly legacy of hate and extremism in the United States.
The SPLC has been a champion of inclusion, equity and justice for nearly 50 years. Your mission has never been more relevant, more critical, than at this moment. White supremacy and white nationalism groups have seized this moment to step up their recruiting efforts, using digital engagement to reach new audiences spending more time online. Educators, who have long championed efforts to teach children about a more inclusive world, are now separated from their charges and working to keep them fed and supported during this difficult time. Families who were already struggling economically are now desperate to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. We need SPLC to continue to lead – to fight the extremists, to teach empathy and belonging, and to champion those who seek justice.
I am glad to see new leadership at the SPLC, bringing energy, compassion and strategic vision that will help the organization play its vital role in our society. I wish Margaret and all of you at the SPLC my very best, and know that you have friends and allies in the larger social justice movement who are ready to stand with you.
—Congressman John Lewis