A foundation has been named for U.S. Representative John Lewis and his wife, Lillian to further their work for the Civil Rights Movement. (AP Photo/Linda Schaeffer, File)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member

A foundation has been established to advance the work of the late Civil Rights activist and political leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D- Georgia). 

The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation was announced on Monday, which would have been Lewis’ 82 birthday. 

Until the end of their lives, the Lewises fought for justice, fairness and inclusion for African Americans through non-violent means. Before his election to the House of Representatives, Lewis worked with various activists to establish Freedom Schools and organize Freedom Summer. 

He was also instrumental in planning the March on Washington in 1963, after which he became known as one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Before his death in 2020, Lewis had already conceived the concept for the foundation. Its mission is to strengthen democracy through civic engagement that is guided by truth, integrity and moral clarity and to amplify the voices of rising generations. 

The foundation intends to carry this out through trusted partnerships with mission-aligned individuals and organizations, innovative thought leadership and strategic investments. 

Linda Earley Chastang, a former chief of staff and counsel to Lewis, will serve as the CEO and president of the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation. 

In the spring, the foundation will commemorate its launch with a gala celebration on May 17 in Washington, D.C.

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