Barack Obama Sits Down With John Lewis to Discuss MLK’s Legacy and the Power of Activism

“When you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something.”

Former President Barack Obama recently joined Rep. John Lewis and a group of high school students for a roundtable discussion on Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring legacy and the moral necessity of social justice movements today.

In a six-minute video released Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s death, Lewis revealed how he coped with the devastating news of King’s assassination. He also shared that one of his life’s greatest regrets was not having spent more time with King. “I thought he’d be around a long time,” Lewis said in a poignant moment.

Obama and Lewis also shared advice with a student who asked about the benefits and risks of being controversial.

“If you are speaking on behalf of social justice, then by definition there’s going to be some controversy, because if it wasn’t controversial, then somebody would have already fixed it,” Obama said. “Dr. King was controversial, but he studied and thought and crafted what he had to say.”

“I said to young people especially students, when you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, say something,” Lewis added.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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