Rep. John Lewis To Speak At UC Davis Graduation

lewisDAVIS – UC Davis School of Law graduates will hear from an American icon as they participate in commencement activities on Saturday, May 14.

Civil rights legend, Congressman John Lewis, will deliver the commencement address for the Class of 2016. The event will take place on May 14, 2016 at the UC Davis Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Lewis, who has served as U.S. Representative for Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1986, is considered one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights movement. Born in 1940 to Alabama sharecropper parents, he was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Bus boycott to join the fight against segregation. Since that time, he has dedicated his life and career to civil rights and social equality activism.

During the Civil Rights movement, Lewis helped to form and served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was largely responsible for organizing student activism. He was arrested more than 40 times and suffered numerous beatings for challenging Jim Crow segregation in the South, earning a reputation as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights movement ever produced.” He was a participant in the Freedom Rides of 1961, an architect and keynote speaker, alongside Dr. King, for the March on Washington in 1963, an organizer of voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, and a key organizer of the historic March on Selma in 1965, to list just a few of his activities during that era.

President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president presented Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010. In 2015, Lewis led President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in a walk to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attack he was involved in, as well as the Selma to Montgomery marches.

The Class of 2016 Commencement Ceremony is an invitation-only event for graduating students and their families.

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Observer Staff Report