Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) (pictured) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) declined invitations to attend the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum dedication ceremony, when they learned that President Donald Trump was also invited. This photo was taken during a Congressional Black Caucus press conference on police brutality at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. in 2016. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)
**FILE** Rep. John Lewis (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the venerable civil rights icon, spoke publicly for the first time Thursday on the death of George Floyd.

Lewis, 80, who announced in December that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, said in the “CBS This Morning” interview with anchor Gayle King that the video of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck “was so painful” and “made me cry.”

“The way this young man died, watching the video, it made me so sad. It was so painful. It made me cry,” Lewis said. “I kept saying to myself, how many more? How many more young Black men will be murdered? The madness must stop.

“And it was very moving, very moving to see hundreds and thousands of people from all over America, and around the world, take to the streets to speak up, to speak out, to get in what I call good trouble,” Lewis said. “Because of the action of young and old, Black, white, Latino, Asian American and Native American, because people cried and prayed, people would never, ever forget what happened and how it happened.

“It is my hope that we are on our way to greater change,” he said. “To respect the dignity and worth of every human being, and it doesn’t matter the color, or their background, or whether they’re male or female, gay or straight. We are one people. We’re one family. We all live in the same house, not just American house, but the world house.”

Lewis also revealed that his “health is improving,” adding, “I have a wonderful doctor, nurse, and everybody taking good care of me. I’m very hopeful and very optimistic.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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