OPINION: John Lewis, Charles Evers, C.T. Vivian: Fighters and Heroes for their People

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It is with distinct sadness and difficulty that I write this column in memory of Congressman John Lewis, Mayor Charles Evers and Rev. C.T. Vivian. It's hard to condense my thoughts about these three icons into a short column, but I will try.

It seems that we are losing our civil-rights champions at an alarming rate. This is why it's important that we mark their passing not only with sadness and honor, but with a renewed and committed vigor to defending what each of them represented.

With them gone, it's up to us to now ensure that their legacy remains respected, intact and safe from those who may want to tear down the accomplishments of these great men to replace them with figures of hate and division.

At the apex of their lives, Lewis, Evers and Vivian were fighters who didn't mind placing their lives in danger for their people. I've often looked to these champions and hoped that I could display just a quarter of the courage that they lived every single day of their lives.

These civil-rights heroes paved the way for Black people to be where we are now.

Could Keisha Lance Bottoms be the mayor of Atlanta had it not been for Charles Evers becoming the first Black mayor of Fayette, Miss.?

Would Colin Kaepernick have taken a knee for justice had C.T. Vivian not first taken a seat during the sit-in protests in Nashville, Tenn.?

Would Senator and then President Barack Obama exist had it not been for John Lewis working to bridge the racial divide in America?

I can say for sure that I wouldn't be where I am today had it not been for them and their accomplishments.

Mayor Charles Evers was a mentor of mine. In my book, "Those Who Give a Damn,” I talk

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