Join Our National Conversations on #RightsAndJustice
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Join Our National Conversations on #RightsAndJustice

October 20, 2019

(Rep. Lewis) The Constitution is a living
document. It is not static. As citizens, we need to make it real. Not just for some of
us but for all of us. The phrase “with liberty and justice for all” means all. We’re one
people, we’re one family. We’re the American Family. (Cokie Roberts) The discovery of an individuals
liberty is one of the foundational values of being an American citizen. America has
been struggling to define the rights and justices associated with that liberty since the creation
of it’s constitution. From this struggle evolved the monumental bill of rights and 17 more
amendments to define and protect our liberties. Over time, the amendment process has been
tested by a nation whose national sense of liberty, equality, and the inclusion of all
citizens evolved with turbulence and struggle. (Rep. Lewis) When we were planning the March
on Washington in august of 1963, I would heard Dr King say things like “we must learn to
live together as brothers and sisters if not, we will perish as fools.” (Mankiewicz) Freedom, true freedom, is not
given by governments. Freedom is taken by the people. The people of America are becoming
aware that this freedom, through their fellow human beings and I call them “human” rights,
are theirs to give. (Rep. Lewis) The issues that compel America
to continue to define equality and fairness, I think it’s innate. I really believe that
it is in our souls. That we believe in freedom, freedom of the individual. We believe that
humans have a right to peacefully co-exist with fellow human beings. (Ferriero) There are two monumental statues
on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the National Archives building. One inscribed “study the
past” the other “what is past is prologue.” The message is we should be able to learn
from our history so that we’re not repeating the same mistakes over and over again. And
the role of the National Archives is to ensure that the people have access to the records
that demonstrate how those rights were achieved so that we can learn from those records. (Roberts) With over 11,000 proposed amendments
to the constitution, and only 27 of those actually ratified, our pursuit of rights and
justice continues to be a vibrant part of our democracy. It is up to every generation
of Americans to own our democracy and continue this national dialogue of defining our personal
liberties. (Rep. Lewis) It is very very important for
all of us as citizens, for all of us as one people, to take ownership of our system of
justice. This is our democracy, it belongs to all of us. We must talk about it. We must
debate it. We have to continue to fight every single day. If we do not, we will go backwards.
We don’t want to go backwards. We want to go forwards and complete our effort to create
a more perfect union.

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