Sewell inspires students to ‘get off the shoulders’ of giants and act
The 17th Annual Troy University Leadership Conference Celebrating African-American History Month closed at noon Saturday with the keynote address by Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell in the Troy Center Ballrooms.
Swell received a rousing applause by those who packed the ballrooms when she expressed “Happy John Lewis Day!”
“If it were not for Congressman John Lewis, Terri Sewell would not be here today,” she said.
Sewell said Lewis is a change agent who has brought about positive changes in human injustices and formed an arc that bends toward justice.
The Alabama Congresswoman challenged the conference attendees not turn away from the injustices in today’s world, rather to acknowledge those injustices.
“You have a moral obligation to do something about them,” Sewell said. “We do so to honor the legacy that our ancestors began. It is up to us to pick up the baton and finish the race.”
Sewell said she has the opportunity to walk the halls of Congress because of Civil Rights leaders like Congressman John Lewis and because of the four young girls that were killed in the bombing in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
“It is an honor to serve in Congress and it is also a responsibility. But my generation can’t do it alone.”
Sewell said it is time for those who have stood on the shoulders of the giants of the Civil Rights movement to do as Civil Rights icon Amelia Boynton Robinson said, “Get off my shoulders!”
Sewell challenged those in attendance to get off the shoulders of others and be change agents.
“Be visionary leaders,” she said. “Be patient and be persistent. Be tactical. Be strategic.
“Ask what are we doing for others? What are we doing to keep moving forward?”
Sewell challenged the Leadership Conference participants to be voices for the voiceless and not to complain about the situations around them – to do something.
“Build bridges, not walls,” she said. “Do what is right. Congressman John Lewis said the time is always right to do the right thing.
“We are inheritors of an awesome legacy. We come from good stock. Our story is American’s story. We need to get off the shoulders of others and do the work that needs to be done. Be change agents in a season of service. Collectively, we can make a difference. Make it a good one.”
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