As 2016 comes to a close, there is no doubt that this year was difficult for many in the LGBTQ and allied community. After a year of such celebration and momentous progress in 2015, 2016 was a shocking wake-up call to many about the realities that LGBTQ people face. From the rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation to the horrific shooting at Pulse, from the incidents of anti-transgender violence to the election of a presidential ticket that threatened to undermine equality and justice, we know that our job is more important now than ever before.
However, through these difficult times, we witnessed countless moments of inspiration. Throughout the year, time and time again, we saw people stand up and do what was right. Whether they were celebrities, politicians, a friend or just an acquaintance, we saw people stand up for equality and inspire us all. Their stories made us cry, gave us hope and reminded us that love will conquer hate.
Throughout 2016, civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis used his voice to reiterate his support and dedication for full LGBTQ equality.
In the wake of the horrific tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando– the nation’s deadliest mass shooting — Lewis staged a sit-in on the House floor to try to force a vote on common-sense gun violence prevention policies.
“What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?” Lewis said. “We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more.”
The sit-in brought together dozens of Representatives and many members of the U.S. Senate, becoming a historic moment for our country for gun violence prevention. Lewis also participated in a #DisarmHate rally at the Capitol.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 13, 2016
At HRC’s 20th Annual National Dinner in September, Lewis called for “good trouble” on the road to equality. In a powerful speech, Lewis spoke to the audience as allies in the fight for equality about the precious power of the vote. He also visited HRC and Equality NC volunteers to make calls for pro-equality candidates in North Carolina.
The day before the dinner, Lewis hosted an epic #HRCTwitterTakeover, sharing his thoughts on the 2016 election and his long term commitment to the LGBTQ community.
“I fought too hard against discrimination based on race & color, not to stand up for the #LGBTQ community,” he tweeted.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) September 9, 2016
For more than five decades, Lewis has used his voice to create change. He has inspired us to take action and do what is right and just. He has received a perfect score on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard. He is a stalwart ally through good times and bad, reminding us that there is always more we can do to improve the world for others.
Thank you, Congressman Lewis, for inspiring us to get in “good trouble” and reminding us that at the end of the day, “It doesn’t matter if we are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We are one people. We are one family.”
Want to learn more about John Lewis? Here are 10 inspiring quotes from him on LGBTQ rights.
Follow along with HRC’s blog in the coming days as we recognize the people who inspired us and gave us hope, courage and strength in 2016.