(CBSDFW.COM) – Leaders across Texas are reacting to and reflecting on the legacy of civil rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis after he died Friday at the age of 80.
His legacy includes organizing the March on Washington in 1963, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave is famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He served as a congressman for more than 30 years.
Various leaders throughout Texas released statements on his passing and how he helped bring change.
Sen. Ted Cruz
“Heidi and I join men and women across the globe in grieving the loss of the great John Lewis. In my first year in the Senate, I had the privilege of traveling with John and much of the Congressional Black Caucus to Nelson Mandela’s funeral in Johannesburg.
“During the trip, John regaled us with stories of being alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As one of the original Freedom Riders, John was a young man at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, and he survived a brutal beating on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. At 23, he was a keynote speaker at the March on Washington, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“To say he was an icon or a hero is an understatement. He had a quiet grace, a passion for justice, and an indomitable courage that helped transform this nation. I am blessed and humbled to have known John and to have heard his deep wisdom firsthand.
“Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer his family, his loved ones, and all of America as we mourn the loss of a good and great man. His legacy will endure on as we continue to strive for justice for all.”
Sen. John Cornyn
“John Lewis has left an indelible mark on the hearts of not only those in his home state of Georgia, but all over our nation and across the world.
“He will be remembered for many things, but his tireless work as a civil rights leader and dedication to fighting for the oppressed changed the course of history.
“Sandy and I will be praying for his family and all those who were touched by his life as we mourn this collective loss.”
Former President George W. Bush
“Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Congressman John Lewis. As a young man marching for equality in Selma, Alabama, John answered brutal violence with courageous hope. And throughout his career as a civil rights leader and public servant, he worked to make our country a more perfect union. America can best honor John’s memory by continuing his journey toward liberty and justice for all.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson
“Congressman John Lewis was a true civil rights icon and an American hero. His commitment to the fight for justice, fairness, and equality was universally admired. He will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his family.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner
“Tonight, our nation has lost a civil rights hero and fighter for justice. @repjohnlewis was a strong warrior who remained in the ring bringing truth to power for those who needed it the most. As he stood for many, now is the time for us to carry on his legacy. Rest in power.”
Rep. Colin Allred
“Aly and I were heartbroken to learn of the passing of Congressman John Lewis. Congressman Lewis is the reason I became a civil rights lawyer, and I would not be a member of Congress if it wasn’t for his love of his country and his commitment to fighting for the soul of our nation by causing some good trouble.
“Heartbreak cannot describe the pain we feel after such a loss. But Congressman Lewis in many ways was more than a man, he represented the best of us and the best of our nation. As we mourn together, I want to share a powerful quote from Congressman Lewis.
‘Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.’
“We have so much work to do to finish the work of Congressman Lewis. We will honor his life by continuing his commitment to remain so incredibly hopeful for change, despite seeing the darkest of times.
“Aly and I send our deepest condolences to the Lewis family, his constituents in Georgia and to the countless others whose lives he touched.”