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Statement of Rep. John Lewis on the Passing of Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (NY)

March 16, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Representative John Lewis made the following statement on the passing of Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY):

“My heart is broken.  Louise was more than a colleague; she was my classmate and my friend.  We took the oath of office together in January 1987 and served side-by-side for more than 30 years. 

“One of my warmest memories is when she invited me to explore her congressional district.  Together, we visited the historic Frederick Douglass Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church.  During my travels with Louise, I also had the opportunity to thank Sister Barbara Lum and the Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford for saving my life.  Fifty-three years ago, she and other nuns from the order cared for us at Good Samaritan hospital on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, when no one else would.  If it were not for them, many of us would not be here today.

“I thank her family, the people of Rochester, and the State of New York for sharing this brilliant woman with us for so many years.  As the former Chair and current Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Slaughter kept us in line.  Most importantly, she taught us how to respect and contribute to the institution of Congress.  For decades, Congresswoman Slaughter fought for those who were left out and left behind, and she gave voice, hope, and comfort for those who felt alone, lost, and abandoned.  I vividly remember her work to break the cycle of violence against women and to stop discrimination based on race, income, religion, ability, region, gender identity, or genetic information. 

“Few people know that we shared a passion for the arts and the humanities.  Every year, I looked forward to joining Louise and arts advocates from around the country.  We believed that art communicates the heart and soul of our nation and that artists interpret our stories to inspire generations yet unborn.

“Louise was a patriot and a hero, a leader and a lady.  My friend was a tireless public servant, who represented her constituents with honesty and integrity.  My thoughts and prayers are with her daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, friends, staff, and constituents during this difficult time.”