Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis visited Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, Sunday morning, calling the new mural emblazoned in yellow paint on the street “a powerful work of art.”
In a series of photos posted on Twitter by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sunday, the Georgia Democrat is seen standing next to the mayor wearing a mask on the giant mural, which spans two blocks of 16th Street, a central axis that leads southward straight to the White House.
Bowser thanked Lewis for coming to the plaza and wrote, “We’ve walked this path before.”
“We’ve walked this path before, and will continue marching on, hand in hand, elevating our voices, until justice and peace prevail,” Bowser tweeted. “Thank you for joining me at Black Lives Matter Plaza, in front of the White House, @repjohnlewis.”
Lewis, 80, “was moved” by the street mural and “wanted to see it in person,” his chief of staff, Michael Collins, told CNN on Sunday. “He said it was a powerful work of art.”
Collins said Lewis did not walk in the protests on Saturday.
At the end of May, Lewis released a statement about black men being killed by police and protests following the death of George Floyd.
“Despite real progress, I can’t help but think of young Emmett today as I watch video after video after video of unarmed Black Americans being killed, and falsely accused,” he said. “My heart breaks for these men and women, their families, and the country that let them down — again.”
He continued, “My fellow Americans, this is a special moment in our history. Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and all backgrounds, creeds, and colors banded together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in a peaceful, orderly, non-violent fashion, we must do so again.
Lewis, who has been undergoing treatment for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, said during an interview with CBS on Thursday that his health was improving. In March, he walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” On March 7, 1965, Lewis was beaten by white police so badly that they broke his skull.
Lewis joined former President Barack Obama on a virtual town hall about racial injustice on Friday, along with Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Leon Ford, Jr., author of “Writer and Survivor of Police Brutality,” and LeQuan Muhammad, a youth leader with the Social Justice Learning Institute. The town hall was moderated by activist Darnell Moore.
Asked what each panelist needed from one another, Lewis responded, “We need to tell people, tell each other to be hopeful, to be optimistic and to never ever give up or to get down.”
“I tell you the past few days (have) been so inspiring to me. To see so many young people, so many children…it give(s) me great hope and we’re going to get there,” he said. “It’s all going to work out. But we must help it work out. We must continue to be bold, brave, courageous, push and pull, ‘til we redeem the soul of America and move closer to a community at peace with itself. But no one, no one, will be left out or left behind because of race or color or nationality.”
CNN’s Nicky Robertson contributed to this report.