Civil rights advocates gathered in Lansing today for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday luncheon.
Organizers had scheduled a top-level speaker for the 2020 luncheon, civil rights pioneer Cong. John Lewis. Lewis, however, had to cancel while undergoing treatment for cancer.
While Lewis wasn’t there, his spirit was everywhere.
An icon award was given to Lewis in his absence. Fellow Democrat Elissa Slotkin was there to accept. She calls being a freshman member of congress learning from John Lewis an honor. “We talked about him demanding that we all get in ‘good trouble,’ Slotkin told the audience. "He also said to all of us ‘find a way to get in the way.’ So, I could not be more honored to be bringing this back to him. It will be on the plane, and I thank everyone for showing him such wonder support in his time of need.”
Next, a video of John Lewis was shown. His remarks included the violence of the march in Selma, Alabama.
A member of Lewis’s congressional staff, Andrew Aydin, then gave the keynote address. He’s known for encouraging Lewis to write the comic book style series called “March.” He looked back at working on the Lewis campaign in 2008, recalling "I kept hearing people say ‘what have you done for me lately?’ I was a staffer, I was a little cheeky, and I said ‘well, he got you the right to vote! What more do you want? Do you use it? Have you shown you shown up to every election?”
Eighteen-hundred people gathered at the Lansing Center to celebrate Dr. King on the holiday honoring his life.