Vigil Held in Memory of Late U.S. Rep. John Lewis

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Tuesday evening, residents gathered at the steps of the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse downtown for a vigil in memory of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who died July 17.

The vigil was sponsored by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past. The Rev. Lewis Macklin, pastor at Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, presided over the event and offered the opening prayer.

Each year, Lewis flew to Atlanta to meet students with Sojourn as they began their journey to the Civil Rights sites in the South, according to a release from the Mahoning Valley chapter of the national nonprofit. Before beginning the journey, students would read Lewis’ autobiography, “Walking with the Wind.”

In 2011, at the request of Youngstown Sojourn students, Lewis visited and spoke at East High School. He spoke to the students about following Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles of nonviolence while standing up for social justice, which is something he did for his entire life and challenged them to do the same.

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The Rev. Lewis Macklin offers the opening prayer.

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Eugina, Akilah and Richard Atkinson

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Macklin and Saria Chatman

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Macklin and Bonnie Burdman

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Jackie Mercer was among those gathered

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Macklin and Micah Smith

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“Our hearts are saddened by his passing, but we realize we now have the responsibility to pick up his baton and continue his battle for justice for all people,” the local nonprofit stated. “With John Lewis as our role model, we can do nothing less.”

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