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Barack Obama: “If you want to honor John Lewis’ legacy, make sure you and everybody you know registers to vote”

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The best way for us to honor John’s legacy is to embrace the message he hoped would outlive himself: that any one of us has the power to enact change. John was a once-in-a-generation hero and leader, but make no mistake—he believed more than anyone that the ability to change the state of things lives in the everyday citizen, and comes to fruition through the simplest of acts. John would have wanted us to honor his legacy—not with defeat and complacence—but with action. Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is a start. While we’re at it, let’s go further. Let’s make sure to automatically register every citizen to vote. Let’s give back the right to vote to the formerly incarcerated who have served their time. Let’s abolish the practices that intentionally make it difficult to cast a ballot, particularly in communities of color. Let’s roll back the Senate filibuster and end gerrymandering. These suppressive roadblocks inhibit the strides that John took for us. And while rectifying them may seem like lofty ambitions, John pulled us closer to their fulfillment, and together, we can continue inching forward. What made him so bold was his unflappable belief in progress. If you want to honor his legacy, make sure you and everybody you know registers to vote, votes early, or requests to vote by mail. That’s how we actualize the better tomorrow in which John was courageous enough to believe in.

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