John Lewis’s Final Words

By John Lewis

Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral. Editorial Page Editor Kathleen Kingsbury wrote about this piece and Mr. Lewis’s legacy in Thursday’s edition of our Opinion Today newsletter.

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Hudson Riverside Park, Developing with Democratic Support

Meet the candidates at Hudson Riverside Park

This is an older post from the campaign last November when our candidates were running on a platform that included enhancing the quality of life in Greenwich. That is still very much a real issue for our residents and we are seeing some efforts to back away from the park, beach and clean energy initiatives that had been gaining traction in our Town.

We still strongly support working to make Greenwich a greener and more beautiful home.

You Don’t Have to Wait! New York Adopts Early Voting

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There are folks who may not recall that NY went to early voting in 2019.

We don’t yet know what the dates/locations will be this year for the General Election in November, but we want to remind you that you will be able to cast a ballot before the November 3th, 2020 General Election.   If you know you will be away on Election Day (note that absentee ballot rules have NOT changed as of yet this year) or will be travelling in the direction of Fort Edward on one of the scheduled dates and would like the convenience of voting early, you can take advantage of this.

Washington County Board of Elections Early Voting will likely be conducted at the Board of Elections Office, 383 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY 12828. Dates to be determined.

If you want further information, you can contact the Washington County Board of Elections at (518) 746-2180 or visit their website at www.washingtoncountyny.gov.

Absentee Voting – Still No Decision for November

Absentee voting was a success in the Democratic Primary and school elections but we have yet to hear from Governor Cuomo if it will be extended to the general election in November.

Stay tuned, we will let you know as soon as we hear.

If you want further information, you can contact the Washington County Board of Elections at (518) 746-2180 or visit their website at www.washingtoncountyny.gov.

Celebrating and Protecting Open Government

Protecting and expanding New York’s legal tradition of guaranteeing the public’s right to know what our government is or is not doing is the purpose Candidates Sara Idleman, Audrey Fischer and Pat Donahue are running for.  Far beyond living up to the letter of the law, they believe open government goes beyond responding to FOIL requests or having the public sit in on meetings.  It means upholding and enhancing the spirit and intent of the law and opening up the full process of governing to the people.

Once in office, they pledge to continue this dialogue and to fulfill the vision of the Sunshine Laws to engage with Town residents, to ask for their input for solutions to problems as well as for new ideas to enhance the quality of life in Greenwich.  They will form citizen task forces and advisory groups.  Most importantly, they will act on the recommendations that arise from these efforts.

Your vote for Sara, Audrey and Pat is what will make the 45th anniversary of New York’s Sunshine Laws the year real open government comes to Greenwich.