Congressman John Lewis Speaks To Cook County Juveniles About Turning Their Lives Around

Craig Dellimore
June 01, 2018 - 7:34 am

WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis spent an afternoon at Cook County’s juvenile lockup this week, talking about how young people can make positive change and get into good trouble.

With help from the group Storycatchers Theater, teenagers at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center performed a musical drama for Congressman John Lewis, the 78-year-old veteran of the Selma to Montgomery March and the March on Washington. Then they asked him about everything from segregation to today’s violence. He told them he needed to be a force for good, and they should be too.

"We need to find a way to stop it. Stop it. Just put an end to it and give people a way out and not just a way in. We need to see that all of our young people, all of our children receive the best possible education and send them on the path," Lewis said. 

"Young people, you must lead the way. You must find a way to get in the way and get into good trouble, necessary trouble to lead the way...and it doesn't matter if you are black or white, latino, Asian American..."

And he said he’s against trying juveniles as adults.

The young people had read his story in a graphic novel, or comic book, he co-authored called MARCH, about the violence Lewis faced around the Selma to Montgomery March. The book was co-authored with Andrew Aydin.

He said the project, now three volumes long, was Aydin’s idea. 

"To me it's been one of the most moving efforts that I have been involved in because young people, young children, all over America, but around the world are reading the book," he said.

The response to Lewis from the young people at the JTDC shows they appreciated it.