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July 21, 2015

EMK Institute Welcomes Rep. John Lewis For Discussion on Voting Rights & Public Service

Celebrated Civil Rights Leader visits as part of Institute's Getting to the Point Series

BOSTON – The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate was honored to welcome celebrated civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) on Monday, July 20th. Lewis spoke to a packed house about the importance of renewing the history of the civil rights movement, the current state of play on the Voting Rights Act and the value of public service.

“I’m honored to be here. To be in this wonderful place named for a great man, a good friend, Senator Kennedy,” said Rep. Lewis.

“I take the position that a vote is almost precious,” Lewis continued. “It is sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent instrument or tool we have in our democratic society and we should make it simple and easy. Open up the political process, let everyone come in, and be not afraid. Embrace the changes that are taking place.”

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, President of the Institute’s Board of Directors gave opening remarks for the program and introduced Congressman Lewis.

“This evening our honored guest has lived the mission of this Institute… he has inspired new generations of Americans to get involved in the life of this country. Many are elected to high office, but no one elected this man to change history. Only his conscious. And so he has.”

Lewis also discussed his work with the late Sen. Kennedy on voting rights issues. The two legislators first met in the 1960s while working to advance the cause of civil rights. Years later, Lewis and Kennedy would team up on a renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

Video of the event can be seen here.

The Congressman also met with local Boston Public School students before the event. In addition, UMass System President Marty Meehan, Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Katherine Clark, former Senator Mo Cowan and other state and local officials attended the event.

The Getting to the Point series aims to convene individuals with diverse perspectives to discuss current issues and the challenges our government is facing. Getting to the Point will take on various formats from town halls to keynote lectures and panel discussions, and will showcase speakers from all walks of life, from Members of Congress and public officials to celebrities, business people, academics, and ordinary citizens.

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