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Congressman John Lewis Speaks at Get Out The Vote Rally

Oct 26, 2016

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

In an effort to encourage people to vote in the upcoming election, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter invited civil rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis to a rally Wednesday evening in Rochester.

Lewis has been at the forefront of the civil rights movement for decades. He was the youngest speaker in the March on Washington in 1963, and more recently led a sit in on the house floor this summer in an effort to encourage a vote on gun control.

He spoke about his upbringing and how it motivated him to want to make a change.

"I kept asking my mother, my father, my grandparents and great grandparents, "Why? Why segregation? Why racial discrimination?" And they would say "That's the way it is. Don't get in the way, don't get in trouble." So I was inspired to get in the way and get in trouble."

Lewis was a leader in the 1965 March on Selma, Alabama, and urged the audience to continue to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

"I truly believe when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. Speak out, and make a little noise. Find a way to get in the way."

He urged the importance of voting, especially in this year’s election.

"It can determine the future of our country, maybe the future of the planet. You know, you hear from time to time that every election is important. This one is. And we're doing our best to get as many people to turn out and vote."

The rally was held at the Memorial AME Zion Church on Clarissa Street.