(WASHINGTON) – The following is an official statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa:
“Last night, our country lost a lion of the civil rights movement and a national force for good. As Teamsters, we are devastated to learn of the passing of Congressman John Lewis.
“John Lewis dedicated his life to causes that were bigger than himself. For more than 60 years, his courageous leadership gave hope to the entire nation, reminding us all to be better.
“More than anything, John Lewis was a fighter. He never backed down when it came to the rights and equality of Black people and the disadvantaged, be it at the ballot box or in the workplace. He never stopped fighting, and he never lost sight of the ultimate goal of equality for all. He was a happy warrior looking for ‘good trouble’ to protest the wrongs of racism and systemic oppression.
“He took his fight from the streets of Selma and Atlanta to the halls of the Capitol, becoming the ‘conscience of the U.S. Congress.’ He broadened the struggle for civil rights to include all like-minded supporters, regardless of race, ethnicity or economic status. Through his deep faith and belief in the inherent goodness of people, he sought to lift those in need by focusing on their humanity.
“His deep commitment to civil rights made him a staunch supporter for workers’ rights. When the Teamsters needed a friend in Congress, we could always count on John Lewis to stand with workers and deliver. He understood on a deep and fundamental level that human rights and workers’ rights are one and the same.
“John Lewis was a true hero of our times, a trailblazer in the fight for justice and equality. His steadfast opposition to discrimination and intimidation anywhere made him one of labor’s strongest allies and closest supporters.
“The loss of Congressman Lewis comes at a pivotal time for our nation and our union, as we take on present-day challenges such as voter suppression and systemic racism. As Teamsters, we will never forget John Lewis, and his legacy will live on in the fight for justice and equality. He will be greatly missed.
“On behalf of the 1.4 million members of the Teamsters Union, I want to send my deepest condolences to the friends, family and constituents of Congressman Lewis.”