Getting to meet, to do some work and associate with, Rev. CT Vivian and Rep John Lewis (who both passed away this last week), has surely been a privilege, not just or even mainly because of the tremendous individual qualities of those two men, each Southern-based Black liberation pioneers. What they represent to me (and should to others), is not mainly their roles in the church or the state, but the ongoing decisions that both of them made to BUILD PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS!!

CT, like many of his colleagues, could have rested on his 1960’s laurels rather than choose to lead coalitions fighting against the KKK and the racist radical right. John could easily have decided, once an elected Congressman, to forget his past life and make his rags-to-riches story the focus of his last decades. Instead, ever the student organizer, John worked to reach new generations about the importance of popular social mobilization: the March. Here with CT at his home in Atlanta a year ago, and with John at the NYC launch of his comic-book trilogy (with fellow members of the AJ Muste Institute, Heidi Elizabeth Boghosian (next to John) and Nina Streich (next to me); he served on our Advisory Board), continued movement-building was always on our minds. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

Matt Meyer is a teacher, author, and peace activist born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He is the former National Co-chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a longtime member of the War Resisters League and was founding chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.