Who Is John Lewis? The Gun Control Sit-In Leader Is A Civil Rights Legend

Determined to see some kind of reform, on Wednesday, Democrats in the House of Representatives began a sit-in for gun control legislation. It was prompted by frustration over the Senate's failure to pass any of four gun control bills presented Monday, all of which were largely in response to the June 12 massacre at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando. That attack marked the worst mass shooting in our nation's modern history. Leading the sit-in is Georgia Rep. John Lewis.

Lewis is a prominent member of the Civil Rights Movement, known for being one of the "Big Six" leaders and serving as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Lewis has a long record of fighting for racial equality and has been highly decorated by a series of high-ranking politicians over the course of the last 40-odd years. Speaking on gun violence on the House floor today, he said the following:

We were elected to lead, Mr. Speaker. We must be headlights, and not taillights. We cannot continue to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the reality of mass gun violence in our nation. Deadly mass shootings are becoming more and more frequent. Mr. Speaker, this is a fact. It is not an opinion. We must remove the blinders. The time for silence and patience is long gone.

We are calling on the leadership of the House to bring common-sense gun control legislation to the House Floor. Give us a vote. Let us vote. We came here to do our jobs. We came here to work. The American people are demanding action.

Based on his record of advocacy, it's not surprising to see Lewis leading the charge of the sit-in. When he appeared on The Daily Show in March 2015, Lewis summed up his approach to protest that had led him through decades of leadership: "Get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble."

Since the sit-in began, #GoodTrouble has become a Twitter mantra in support.