AHF Mourns Passing of ‘Good Friend’ Congressman John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon

In Global Featured by Ged Kenslea

Global AIDS organization salutes Georgia congressman, a leader and icon in the civil rights movement and one who also pushed for funding for global access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment 

WASHINGTON (July 19, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today sadly mourns the death of United States Representative John Lewis (D-GA), an icon in the civil rights movement. His family announced his passing in a statement Friday evening, noting Congressman Lewis was “…honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, … a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being.  He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America.  He will be deeply missed.”


According to CNN, Lewis “…died after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 80.”


“We mourn and thank Congressman John Lewis today for his tireless, lifelong work—on civil rights, social justice, health care and more—far beyond the reach and accomplishment of most men,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, the largest global AIDS organization. “In tribute to this powerful but humble man, I share a photo of Congressman Lewis meeting with several of AHF’s medical providers, staff and patients from Africa when they came to Washington years ago to join us in lobbying Congress to reauthorize PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief. Congressman Lewis graciously invited us into his office—not a staffer’s, but his own—and listened intently to our stories and shared his own. He was an American, but truly a man for all seasons—and all nations—truly irreplaceable. Rest in peace kind sir.”


“I am saddened and want to send my condolences to Congressman Lewis’ family and close friends. The African American community and country have lost a stalwart from the ‘Civil Rights Movement and A Giant Among Men.’  Congressman Lewis was a good friend of AHF. I remember meeting him when AHF held the ribbon-cutting ceremony at our new medical clinic in Washington D.C., on K Street, in the mid-2000s. He was so gracious, down-to-earth, unassuming and his presence was awe-inspiring. May his passion for civil rights, social justice and health equity live on and continue to affect the hearts and minds of a new generation of social and political activists.” said Cynthia Davis, MPH, Chair of AHF’s Board of Directors.


“Congressman Lewis was beyond a politician, he was a servant-leader,” stated Imara Canady, Chair of AHF’s Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition, based in Atlanta. “I was blessed to personally know the Congressman and have directly witnessed the impact that his leadership had on the constituents of metro Atlanta. No matter the issue, no matter your sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, he represented all people. Even with all that was on his plate, he never missed an opportunity to be with his constituents and had a unique ability to make everyone he encountered feel Important.  He was relentless in the ongoing fight for justice for all people, stood up against foolery and gave new meaning to the transformative impact of fearless advocacy.”


“I had the honor to participate with Congressman John Lewis in a panel discussion in Atlanta on the impact of HIV in communities of color at a forum for the faith-based community. I shared my profound admiration for him, and he then told me how important my own advocacy was as a man of color living with HIV. It meant so much to me coming from a living legend. I spoke first and he followed with such a passionate call out to the pastors and audience members to embrace the fight against HIV as a ‘moral and civil rights issue’ where lives are valued, free of stigma, free of judgement and access to treatment is prioritized over greed—remarks that were greeted with standing ovation. Rest in Power, Mr. Lewis,” added Joey Terrill, Director of Global Advocacy & Partnerships for AHF.



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