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APA Statements in Remembrance of Civil Rights Icon Rep. John Lewis

  • July 29, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2020 – As civil rights leader and ‘conscience of Congress’ Rep. John Lewis is laid to rest today in Atlanta, Georgia, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued the following statements:

“We are mourning the loss of a leader who meant so much to the Black community and to all Americans who strive for equity and justice,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H. “For more than a half century, Rep. John Lewis showed what walking the walk truly means in promoting civil rights, even putting his own life at risk in service of the cause. His lesson to us is to continue that work through speaking up, taking tangible actions, exhibiting humility and practicing perseverance. In taking on racial discrimination, we will do well if we take to heart his words: ‘I believe race is too heavy a burden to carry into the 21st century. It's time to lay it down. We all came here in different ships, but now we're all in the same boat.’”

“Rep. John Lewis was a selfless, constant advocate for civil rights for Black Americans and other underrepresented groups, and a shining example for the rest of all of us,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Rep. Lewis continually made his voice heard and pushed for change to help millions of Americans, whether it was during the struggle for voting rights or in fierce advocacy for the Affordable Care Act. His memory serves as an inspiration to us at APA to continue his legacy and to strive for the ideals he believed in.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit


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