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Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® Issues Statement on the Passing of two Civil Rights Giants

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

We will honor their legacies by re-affirming our commitment to advancing justice and equality.

Alpha Kappa Alpha joins a grateful nation in mourning the loss of civil rights icons, Congressman John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian. The world has lost two irreplaceable champions for justice and equality at a time when the pervasive effects of racial injustice and economic inequality could not be more evident.

Congressman John Lewis, age 80, urged us to get in some “good trouble” in our efforts to make this nation live up to its promise of justice and equality for all. His involvement in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Council (SNCC) and his 33-year tenure in Congress are testaments to a life of service. Alpha Kappa Alpha is grateful for Congressman Lewis’ support of our public policy initiatives and programs.

The 95-year-old Reverend C.T. Vivian, a lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a Freedom Rider, was a key organizer of the first lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville in 1960 as well as the first civil rights march in 1961. His work with diverse communities to improve race relations is legendary. President Barack Obama in addressing an audience at the anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March heralded Rev. Vivian as “the greatest preacher to ever live.” Alpha Kappa Alpha lauds Rev. Vivian’s untiring commitment to advancing equal opportunity.

Congressman Lewis, a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, and Reverend Vivian, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, were each awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Alpha Kappa Alpha pauses to remember these two civil rights giants and the important to which they committed themselves. We will honor their legacies by re-affirming our commitment to advancing justice and equality. And as we fight on, we will be ever mindful of the words of the late John Lewis who said, “Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime.”

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