John Lewis Remembered 1 Year After His Death as Voting Rights Legislation Remains in Limbo

Democratic lawmakers, several U.S. companies, and Atlanta civil rights activists alike are marking the one-year anniversary of former Georgia Representative John Lewis' death Saturday, with many demanding that his eponymous election bill finally pass Congress.

In Atlanta, where Lewis passed away from cancer on July 17, 2020, following decades of public service in Georgia, a U.S. Navy ship will be christened with his name and a cycling event will commemorate his legacy on Saturday, WSB reported.

In Nashville, where Lewis conducted peaceful sit-ins to protest Jim Crow racism in the 1960s, a street was named in his honor, according to WSMV.

Additionally, a number of promiment public figures have paid tribute to the late congressman via Twitter.

"John Lewis taught us that when we see something that is not right, not just, not fair, we have to do something. He taught us not to lose hope—that this is the struggle of many lifetimes. He taught us to get in #GoodTrouble. One year already. We miss you," tweeted Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings on Saturday.

"Last year a nation lost a leader, hero, and activist in John Lewis. Every single day I find myself missing my mentor and friend, and will forever pull inspiration from his towering legacy," said New Jersey Senator Corey Booker in his post.

"Today, Nashville unveiled a marker in tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis! This new honor completes the city's plans to rename part of Fifth Avenue as Rep. John Lewis Way! What a magnificent way to celebrate a leading civil rights activist!" wrote civil rights attorney Ben Crump on Friday.

But in Washington, Democrats, activists and family members suggest the late lawmaker is not getting the respect he deserves as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act has yet to pass the Senate.

The legislation named for him following his death in July 2020 would strengthen and restore several pieces of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, much of which was struck down in a 2013 Supreme Court ruling. In particular, the Lewis-named law would reinstall the requirement for states with long histories of racism to pre-clear any changes to their voting laws through the federal government.

This portion of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act legislation has been widely rejected by Senate Republicans, where it has failed to pass through now two separate congressional sessions.

Lewis' voting rights legislation remains in limbo in the 50-50 split U.S. Senate, despite having overwhelming support from Democrats, including President Joe Biden.

"To protect our democracy and the sanctity of the vote, we must pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It is a national imperative," the president tweeted on July 13.

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein tweeted Saturday: "A year ago today, we lost Congressman John Lewis. He never stopped fighting for what is right, and we must continue in his footsteps everyday. It's time Congress passes the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, truly the best way to honor his remarkable life."

"1 year ago today, we lost an American giant," wrote Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman from California, on Twitter. "John Lewis was a towering figure, both here on the Hill & across the world, immediately recognized for his unflinching commitment to building a more equal world. The best way to honor him is by passing voting rights legislation."

Recently, more than 150 companies called on Congress to pass the voting rights legislation, NBC News reported.

Newsweek reached out to representatives for Lewis' estate Saturday morning as well as the White House for any additional remarks.

Updated 1:43 PM ET, with Dianne Feinstein and Ro Khanna's tweets.

Barack Obama, John Lewis
Democratic lawmakers, several U.S. companies, and Atlanta civil rights activists alike are marking the one-year anniversary of former Georgia Representative John Lewis' death Saturday. In this photo, the civil rights icon receives the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House in February 2011. Alex Wong/Getty