John Lewis was a former United States Representative as well as a civil rights leader. He was also the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for about three years.
Lewis was a staunch supporter of liberalism and was a member for the Democratic Party. He contributed majorly to the civil rights movement and thoroughly fought against racial segregation in the United States.
For his determined and dedicated attitude towards his work and life, Lewis was honoured by many awards and titles like the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Dole Leadership Prize, to name a few.
Lewis has also written some profound books and given out words of wisdom in the form of quotations.
Here are some of the best and most famous John Lewis quotes.
When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.
If there is an unjust or an unfair act taking place in your presence, you must do something, anything possible, because there is always something one can do. The least you could do is raise your voice against the wrong and let them know that they are wrong and get it straight that you would be supporting the right side. You have to stand up and speak against the evil.
If you are not a part of something wrong, then you have to portray that through your actions and do something about it because not doing anything is as bad as being a part of it.
When you make mistakes, when you’re wrong, you should admit you’re wrong and ask people to forgive you.
One should always keep their conscious self over their ego at all times and be self-aware.
Being self-aware tends to help one in numerous ways and also helps them to learn and grow. If you lack self-awareness, you are bound to get egoistic and out of bounds.
And that is then showcased in a situation where you are at fault, but instead of accepting your mistakes and apologising, you simply overlook that and try to defend yourself, which is certainly wrong.
When you are wrong and you know why and how, you should never try to argue or defend yourself and just accept, apologise, learn from it, and move on.
Never give up. Never give in. Never become hostile. Hate is too big a burden to bear.
Giving up should never be an option, let alone be the last resort. No matter what happens, you should neither give up nor give in.
Lewis through this inspiring quote, also asks us to not turn hostile. Hostility not only spreads negativity for other people, but it also tends to ruin the person who is being so. In a similar way, hatred is more destructive towards the person bearing it rather than towards the one whom he/she wishes to project it onto.
You have to tell the whole truth, the good and the bad, maybe some things that are uncomfortable for some people.
No matter how uncomfortable or difficult speaking the truth might seem, you should always say it and walk on the path of honesty. This is because the lies will be out in the open and the truth will prevail, regardless of how great a lie there is.
The truth might upset some and make others mad, but that is not your look out. All you should be worried about is not being truthful and nothing else.
Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be – you get out and push and you pull, and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of good will in power to act.
Lewis here talks about making a difference and actually working towards it.
If you wish to do something, be it anything, especially wanting to make a difference or bring about a change, simply wanting to do it is not going to be enough. You will have to work for it, work immensely hard and invest your time and energy into it. Only then will you be able to do something you want, and only then will you be able to help other people of good will to achieve the same.
Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Never lose that sense of hope.
The one thing that will always help you rise above your doubts and fears is the sense of hope and optimism. As long as you hold onto that, you will be able to tackle any and every obstacle and hindrance there is, regardless of the level of its difficulty. So, never lose hope and always be positive and you will see the effective results for yourself!
You have to be persistent.
If you are trying to stand up for something, or trying to have your voice out in the open for everyone to hear your opinions, or if you simply want to do something, you need to be persistent about it because if you are not and if you just give up, it is not going to happen. Even speaking about it or doing something about it once is not enough. You have to nudge the ice more than just a couple of times for it too unharden and fall over the ground.
Never become bitter, and in the process, be happy and just go for it.
Life is going to be full of challenges, ups and downs, and tough situations. But that does not mean we overlook the better and happier parts of life that are worth enduring all the suffering.
Never become bitter or full of hate, for it is something that will affect you negatively the most and not anybody else. Instead, be grateful for the lessons you have learned and how you have grown and stay happy.
I believe in forgiveness; I believe in trying to work with people.
Without forgiveness, there is no growth because together, both tend to form a symbiotic relationship due to which if there isn’t one, then there is no scope for the other.
Being forgiving might get difficult at times, but you need to overcome the feeling of being better and learn to be as forgiving as you can be and try sorting your differences out with other people. After all, together, we always stand stronger than we do when we are alone.
You have to go with your gut sometimes, and how you feel.
Instead of listening to what someone else is telling you, it is always safer and better to listen to what your gut is asking you to because most of the times, it is right!
Following your intuition will also make sure that if at all something does not turn out to be the way you thought it would, at least you would be able to accept it. But if something doesn’t turn out the way someone else told you it would, not only would you blame that person, but you would also constantly regret not going with your gut.
You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong, is not right.
You could try ignoring or avoiding what you know is not right, but it will do you no good whatsoever. If you know at heart that something is wrong, unless and until you don’t acknowledge it or do something about, you are bound to stay disturbed and bothered.
There’s nothing wrong with a little agitation for what’s right or what’s fair.
Sometimes to get your point across and to separate right from wrong, and to take a stand for the former, you need to show a little agitation and persuasion. This is because until and unless you are crystal clear along with a bit of extra force, you are not going to be fully heard or seen. And as long as its for the right cause, a little agitation is perhaps the best thing.
You have to be optimistic in order to continue to move forward.
It is not possible for one to move ahead in life if they keep surrounding themselves with negative energies and keep being pessimistic. If you wish to move forward in life and closer to success and achievements, then you need to be more optimistic, goal-oriented, and simply have a more positive attitude towards life in general.
Continue reading some more John Lewis quotes....
Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.
As long as there is hatred, violence, discrimination, and division between people, not one of us will actually be able to rest peacefully or just be happy.
We must end all kinds of division and discrimination, avoid war and violence at all costs and only stand for peace, and get rid of any kind of bitterness there is, to grow and be happy with each other, with ourselves, and with life.
Too many of us still believe our differences define us.
There are still a lot of people who feel that what makes us different, is our sole identity and also our weakness. But that is and never has been the case. No matter what an individual’s colour, caste, gender, sex, race, or religion is, they are still human, and they bleed the same colour as anybody else.
Instead of perceiving somebody’s differences as their weakness, we should look at them as their strengths; nobody deserves inhuman or inferior treatment because of what makes them different, and everybody deserves equal respect and recognition.
Get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
Through this quote, Lewis has passed on a rather crucial and inspiring message that one should stay away from futile trouble, but proudly be a part of good trouble. By good trouble, he means trouble that is necessary for the betterment of the future and that would be proved fruitful in the long run.
For instance, if it is a fight or a protest for something regarding justice, freedom, or related to one’s rights, one should be an active part of it.
You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone – any person or any force – dampen, dim, or diminish your light.
Always remember, you are a light that deserves to shine as bright as the sun, and it shall! Don’t let anybody’s words, actions, or anyone for that matter block that source of blazing light; no matter what somebody says, you know the best for yourself.
You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.
If you believe in something and stand by something, then you have to stand up for it too and speak for it. You must have the courage and the guts to stand for what you believe because that is the sole way that your voice will be heard, and your opinions and thoughts will be acknowledged.
You cannot afford to get scared if it is standing by your faith and beliefs.
We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.
Sometimes it might be the case that things don’t happen the way we wanted them to and when we wanted them to. But that does not mean that the timing isn’t right because whatever happens, whenever it happens, it tends to happen for a reason, and the reason is always a good one in the long run.
I believe in nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living.
Lewis always supported and stood by peace as nonviolence as the ultimate choice. If you assort to war and violence, you would be unleashing nothing but demolition on yourself as wells upon the society. This is why one should always stand by peace, no matter what situation or obstacle there is. No problem is ever too huge not to be solved through peaceful means.
In this article, we have covered the famous John Lewis Quotes on Education, Love, Hope, Leadership and Forgiveness. Hope you enjoyed reading them!
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Co-author: Khushi Shah
Khushi has just passed her school and is now studying at PDPU. Apart from writing, she likes to sketch and dance. She also has other blogs where she posts proses and poetry.