Legislative Black Caucus on the Passing of Representative John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian

John Lewis gives Commencement Address at UC Davis School of Law in 2016

The following is a statement by the California Legislative Black Caucus on the passing of John Lewis and CT Vivian

Sacramento – Our nation was dealt a crushing blow with the passing of Civil Rights icons Representative John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian on Friday. Their lives intersected years ago studying theology at the American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. Both men were vessels of the movement that believed their activism was an extension of their faith in God – which manifested in their support of nonviolent resistance to systemic racism.

The Rev. C.T. Vivian, an early civil rights organizer and field general for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fought and sacrificed his life for racial and social justice. Rev. Vivian’s devotion to racial and social justice work spanned over half a century. In the 1940s, he joined sit-ins as a part of integration efforts in Illinois and was one of the earlier Freedom Riders. In 1965, while registering Blacks to vote on the courthouse steps in Selma, an Officer assaulted Vivian.

Like Rev. Vivian, Rep. John Lewis was a humble and dedicated servant. Born the child of Alabama sharecroppers, Lewis helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and named its Chairman in 1963, making him one of the “Big Six.” Rep. Lewis was the youngest and last surviving member of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders who spoke at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. On March 7, 1965, he led one of the most famous marches in American history, marching halfway across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to demand the voting rights Blacks had been denied.

Even after being bludgeoned by state troopers, Lewis believed in “redeeming the soul of America.”  As a 17-term member of Congress, colleagues often described Rep. Lewis as the “conscience of Congress.” Lewis said, “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Rev. Vivian and Rep. Lewis’ lives were the embodiment of “good trouble.” The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) mourns the loss of these great men who demonstrated radical faith devoting their lives to fight for voting rights, racial and social equality. Now, more than ever, we must diligently carry on their legacies so we may realize the promises of justice for all.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Alan Miller

    I appreciate that the values of the civil rights movement are espoused here.  These values seem to be lost on the modern movement.  Nonviolence (which is of words as well as action) seems to be a lost art in today’s movement, with violence too oft celebrated as an extension of the quite understandable anger.  Violence should never be celebrated or excused.

    Both men were vessels of the movement that believed their activism was an extension of their faith in God – which manifested in their support of nonviolent resistance to systemic racism.

    I don’t see the young people of the BLM movement much adhering to the above.  Am I wrong?  I’m not saying that many protests aren’t nonviolent nor that anywhere near most turn to looting — but I hear far too much excusing of the violence, and that will not end well.

    Older black people (and most white people) celebrate King.  I half expect a crowd of mostly-white anarchist protestors to pull down a statue of Martin Luther King one of these days, the way thing are going.  I mean, if they can pull down a Lincoln statue with nary a condemnation from the progressive left . . . ?

    Amazing . . . both these men outlived King by over half a century.  These were men of courage and conviction . . . leaders.

    I wish we had such leaders today.   A mob, in person or virtual, seems only to follow itself.

    1. Bill Marshall

      “funny” how people confuse great frustration with anger… two quite different emotions, but can ‘express’ to others, the same… then there is righteous anger vs. ‘posed’ anger… it would be righteous anger to hit the killer of MLK in a gut punch… not so much hitting a white kid in the gut, when the white kid was grieving the loss of MLK… there are many ‘false emotions’ going on, and they detract from ‘true emotions’, true messages about what is ‘wrong’… but, it was what it is, and what it has always been…

      Have learned that the Black kid who belly-punched me in 8th grade, had no clue as to MLK… he was Black, I was White… reason enough (for him) to attack me… fortunately the VP @ my school knew the diff , made sure I was OK, then ‘dressed down’ the attacker for not having a clue as to MLK’s “message”… a good man… he happened to be Black, and also mourning the loss of MLK, but understood the message that MLK espoused…

      Had the Black VP not embraced the White kid, there is a ~ 20% chance I’d be a racist… my parents, my faith/religion eliminated the other 80%… but of course (anticipating) all whites are racists, right?  Just in ‘denial’…

      1. Alan Miller

        the Black kid who belly-punched me in 8th grade . . .  he was Black, I was White… reason enough (for him) to attack me…

        That’s impossible.  Here’s why (torn from the pages of the modern playbook):

        How To Teach Racists That There is No Such Thing as Reverse Racism


        Black People Can’t Be Racist


        Black Lives Matter U.K. – Is Reverse Racism Real?


        1. David Greenwald

          I think you would benefit from reading the White Fragility book as it explains much better exactly the difference between racism and discrimination.

          1. David Greenwald

            Here’s a key quote: ““While everyone of every race holds prejudice and can discriminate against someone of another race, in the US and other white/ settler nations, only white people are in the position to oppress people of color collectively and throughout the whole of society.” This is a far better explanation of the situation.

        2. Alan Miller

          > you would benefit from reading the White Fragility book

          This has truly become the progressive go-to, try-to gotcha line of 2020.

          I don’t dance that dance, but when she writes her book on Jewish fragility let me know and I’ll take it in with a glass of fine red wine and an aged brie with Ritz and saltines.

        3. David Greenwald

          Alan – Currently I’m reading the Nuremberg Trial Memoirs and Tolstoy’s the Kingdom of God is Within You.  Nevertheless, I think every white person should read white fragility, particularly now.  The links you posted are not particularly prescient.  If you are reading them, you might well read something stronger.

        4. Alan Miller

          > Currently I’m reading the Nuremberg Trial Memoirs and Tolstoy’s the Kingdom of God is Within You.

          Well, aren’t you special.

          I’m reading “My Pet Goat” to try to better understand the response to 9-11, while trying for months now to get through the final two chapters of “Fifty Shades Darker”, the sequel to the literary masterpiece “Fifty Shades of Grey”, which I refuse to read because they spelled ‘gray’ with an ‘e’.

          I also read the ‘Davis Vanguard’ every morning, then inject heroin to stop the pain.

  2. Bill Marshall

    she writes her book on Jewish fragility

    From what I’ve read, and experienced, that’s a contradiction in terms… thankfully so… except with some 2nd/3rd deviation folk… Jews and those deriving their faith from their (Jewish) scriptures, wisdom, faith traditions are remarkably resilient… but, not ‘perfect’…

    There have been several ‘holocausts’… during Roman rule, during the plagues, and the “big H” in the 20th century… similar for Christians and Muslims… but they endure despite idiotic/malicious actions by the few…

    1. Alan Miller

      I wish that were true, WM, but I’ve been disappointed of some young Jews – even conservative – using the same playbook as modern progressives, stressing victimization over resiliency.  Thankfully, it may not be widespread, but I fear for the coming generations.

      1. Alan Miller

        Though, I don’t fear for all Jews.  Jews are as varied as the colors of a luminescent midnight spectral rainbow, and always will be.  Put another way, “put two Jews in a room, you’ll get three opinions”.

  3. Alan Miller


    you would benefit from reading the White Fragility book

    Here are some quotes from one of my favorite political columnists, Matt Taibbi, regarding the book that DG recommended that Alan Miller would benefit from:
    White Fragility reduces everything, even the smallest and most innocent human interactions, to racial power contests.”
    [Sounds like a certain local Davis blog I know.]
    Taibbi calls out the author, Robin DeAngelo, a corporate anti-racism workshop trainer, for “pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horsesh@t as corporate wisdom” and being the first to do so while “selling Hitlerian race theory.”
    Taibbi also calls White Fragility “the dumbest book ever written”.
    Expanding on the politics, Taibbi notes, “The movement that calls itself ‘antiracism’ . . .  is complete in its pessimism about race relations. It sees the human being as locked into one of three categories: members of oppressed groups, allies, and white oppressors.
    Taibbi continues “‘antiracism’ prophets promoted in books like White Fragility share corporate Americas instinctive hostility to privacy, individual rights, freedom of speech, etc. . . . For corporate America the calculation is simple. What’s easier, giving up business models based on war, slave labor, and regulatory arbitrage, or benching Aunt Jemima?”
    Tiabbi calls out “antiracism,” “a quack sub-theology that in a self-clowning trick straight out of Catch-22 seeks to raise awareness about ignorant race stereotypes by reviving and amplifying them.”
    From DeAngelo’s Book:  “One line of King’s speech in particular—that one day he might be judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin—was seized upon by the white public because the words were seen to provide a simple and immediate solution to racial tensions: pretend that we don’t see race, and racism will end.”
    Taibbi comments, “This notion that color-blindness is itself racist, one of the main themes of White Fragility, could have amazing consequences . . .  [Lincoln] County [Oregon] casually exempted “people of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling” from a Covid-19 related mask order. Who thinks creating different laws for different racial categories is going to end well? When has it ever?”
    “One of the central tenets of DiAngelo’s book is that racism cannot be eradicated and can only be managed through constant, “lifelong” vigilance, much like the battle with addiction. A useful theory, if your business is selling teams of high-priced toxicity-hunters to corporations as next-generation versions of efficiency experts — in the fight against this disease, companies will need the help forever and ever.”
    (Taibbi, if you are not familiar with him, is of the liberal persuasion.  But a classic liberal might as well be a far-right conservative as far as modern progressive politics go.)


  4. Alan Miller

    Here are a couple of episodes from “Blocked and Reported”, a really fun podcast that started recently touted to be “A Podcast About Internet Nonsense”, regarding the book “White Fragility”:

    Episode 17
    “White Fragility” Is A Completely Bizarre And Pernicious Book And It’s A Terrible Sign That So Many Americans Love It

    And here’s one about a person who was forced to attend a DeAngelo seminar at work:

    “What a stupid f*cking way to have a really important conversation”: Reflections On A Yearlong White Fragility Training

      1. Alan Miller

        Will watch those later…

        Audio, actually.  So if you have a podcast app on your phone, you can listen while doing the dishes.

        Have listened to some of their other podcasts now. Really fun stuff. They call out hypocrisy on all political sides — but — imagine this — NOT forming a digitial mob and calling for people to be fired for their hypocrisy! What a very human and humane way to view the world!

        1. Alan Miller

          Also self-proclaimed lefties, very concerned about far-progressive politics such as cancel culture and the societal demand to march lock-step with the digital mob.

          They say they are trying to help people “feel less crazy”, and support people being able to express one’s politics without cowering in fear of being attacked by the online mob, due to the extreme “pressure to conform” in the current social media environment.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Thanks… hadn’t tried yet, but can one hear them on a laptop?  [Sorry, I’m enough of a ‘dinosaur’, so have to ask… but have figured out how to use Zoom… after two ‘false starts’… got video first time, but took two fails to figure out audio (two-way), so am thinking there is hope…]

        3. Alan Miller

          WM, should just be able to click the links I provided.

          Then click the “Play” symbol.

          As long as there is a built-in speaker or headphone.

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