Letter to the editor: In honor of John Lewis

“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
— John Lewis, 2018
Good Trouble
1960, Nashville
You, John, just twenty years old
How dared you demand a seat at that color-sensitized counter?
Your skin, the tone of dignity and courage Bloodied and bruised
By white segregationists’ moral anemia
That day, John, you got in good trouble.
A year or so later
Rock Hill, South Carolina
One of thirteen Freedom Fighters
You strode into that train station’s waiting room Ignoring the required ticket —white skin
Beaten, bludgeoned, nearly to death
There you were, once again, Mr. Lewis
Getting yourself in good trouble
Necessary trouble
March 7, 1965
You, John Lewis, now twenty-five
Leading your people from Selma to Montgomery

over the Edmund Pettus Bridge
From the sidelines, a white woman’s taunts, “
Get ’em, get the Niggers!”
You marched
into tear gas, bullwhips You marched
as that truncheon cracked your skull 
John, that Sunday filled with blood 
You got yourself in more good trouble
Necessary trouble.
Arrested forty times in six years
Another five while serving in Congress
Arrested forty-five times without ever raising
your fist
Thank you, Mr. John Robert Lewis
Thank you, for getting in all that good trouble
The necessary trouble
changes beliefs.
changes a people.
changes a nation.
— Deb Levesque
Burlington formerly of Middlebury


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