Congressional Black Caucus Foundation renames fellowship after the late John Lewis

The CBCF renamed the newly launched National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice as the John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship

John Lewis
Congressman John Lewis (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) is honoring the late Congressman John Lewis by renaming one of its fellowship programs after the civil rights icon.

The organization, which is the nonprofit arm of the Congressional Black Caucus, is changing the National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice fellowship program, which was launched, last month, to the John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship. The CBCF announced the change in a Wednesday press release.

The program is meant to appoint fellows to conduct extensive research and policy analysis on issues in education, law enforcement, incarceration and economic opportunity.

READ MORE: Rep. John Lewis memorial plans released

“Congressman Lewis was a leader and a legend who dedicated his life and career to the pursuit of racial and social justice,” stated Congressman Cedric Richmond, chair of the CBCF Board of Directors.

“It is an honor to offer this opportunity to social justice leaders who will now carry the torch so brightly lit by Rep. John Lewis. We are excited for the work to come by the John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship candidates in advancing the global Black community.”

Tonya Veasey, president and CEO of CBCF, also spoke highly of Lewis in the release.

“Rep. Lewis was the exuberance of the Civil Rights Movement and a pillar of the Congress,” Veasey said. “His work and personal sacrifices helped to build the democracy we have today, and he worked until the time of his passing to challenge the injustices present and prevalent today.”

READ MORE: Robert E. Lee high school renamed after late civil rights icon John Lewis

At the time of his death, Lewis, 80, was the most senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Heralded as the “Conscience of Congress,” he served 33 years as a representative from Georgia.

Lewis was a key figure of the Civil Rights Movement. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which advocated and protested for racial equality alongside the likes of the Rev. Dr. Martin Lither King, Jr. in the 1960s.

Lewis was the youngest to speak at the March on Washington in 1963.

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