The Indiana University Black Philanthropy Circle (BPC) joins the nation in the mourning of two civil rights icons and friends in the fight for justice, Congressman John Robert Lewis and Reverend Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian. Both were peaceful activists who worked tirelessly side by side, demanding change following the Constitution of the United States of America by treating all people equally. After years of arrests, confrontations, and unrelenting demands for fairness, each received the highest civilian honor from the nation’s first Black president, a moment that the civil rights movement worked hard to achieve.
“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” John Robert Lewis
“People do not choose rebellion; it is forced upon them. Revolution is always an act of self-defense.” Rev. C.T. Vivian
Legends of the second reconstruction, their sacrifices and accomplishments are well documented in American history. Their journey was long and often bitter as they held steadfast to reach many triumphs in overcoming the brutalities that now bring them to a resting place that they most assuredly deserve. Their love for our nation was just as strong and unyielding as their desire to “never give up” on the struggle to ensure equity and inclusion for all Americans. We all stand firmly on their shoulders for the civil rights of this country we enjoy today. They have left with us an affirmation to continue the struggle to achieve total freedom, signed by the blood, sweat, and tears from their decades of strife.
To the Lewis and Vivian families, we grieve with you and are thankful to you for allowing these two gentle giants to stand up for us all. Black philanthropy has been an essential component of virtually every Black civil rights movement in the history of this country. The BPC will march on with their teachings etched in our minds and hearts as we uphold their legacy of fairness, justice, and opportunity for all.