The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) today announced that the late U.S. Representative and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis will be honored with a special Recognition as an Ally for his work in fighting for justice and equality for all communities including Latinos through a tribute musical performance during the October 6th PBS broadcast of the 33rd Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards.
“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is proud to recognize the legacy of our compadre John Lewis, a true champion of civil rights for all our communities,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President & CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “The Congressman was a passionate friend and champion of the Latino community through his courage, morality, decency, fire, action and collaboration for justice and human rights. He was ready to speak – no, shout – on behalf of the voiceless or the ignored including the immigrant community. The Congressman indefatigably supported Latinos by fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, denouncing family separations, and trying to ensure our right to vote. The Congressman will continue to serve as an inspiration to anyone who is in la lucha for justice and how our communities can make an even bigger impact when we work together.”
The Hispanic Heritage Awards are among the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos and are considered “America’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration” after being established in 1988 to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in America by the White House. Linda Ronstadt (Legend), Bad Bunny (Vision), Selena Gomez (Arts), Jessica Alba (Business), and America’s essential farmworkers (Heroes) will be awarded.
“The Congressional Black Caucus is known as the ‘Conscience of the Congress’ but John Lewis was known as the conscience of our caucus,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA). “One of the greatest honors of serving in Congress was that I had the possibility of serving with him. His legacy to our country is that he devoted his life fighting racism and injustice wherever he confronted it, from boycotts, sit-ins, to protests in the streets, to championing bold, progressive policies in Congress including the Voting Rights Act, and being a moral compass. Mr. Lewis also led the effort to build the African American History Museum and when we visit the museum, this is another opportunity for us to always remember him and what he stood for. Now that he is no longer with us, we have to live up to his legacy and protect the right to vote for all Americans. As we continue to face the challenges due to coronavirus, we must protect our democracy even in the midst of adversity. Most especially in this election.”
John Lewis was an iconic civil rights leader who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his passing on July 17th in 2020. He was also the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 1963 – 1966.
Mr. Lewis was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He fulfilled many key roles in the civil rights movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. In 1965, Mr. Lewis led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In an incident which became known as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police attacked the marchers, including Mr. Lewis. He was a leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1991 as a Chief Deputy Whip and from 2003 as Senior Chief Deputy Whip. Mr. Lewis received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
The Hispanic Heritage Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round, innovative, high-impact, actionable programs focused on education, workforce, leadership and culture. HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.hispanicheritage.org and follow the Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.