Robert E. Lee High School Renamed After Late Civil Rights Icon John Lewis

Robert E. Lee High School in Fairfax, VA, the eleventh largest school dis­trict in the nation, is final­ly get­ting a long over­due name change. 

The new name: John R. Lewis High School, after the late civ­il rights icon. 

Fairfax County’s school board vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly on Thursday to rename the school after the beloved con­gress­man. The new name goes into effect for the 2020 – 21 school year, USA Today reports. 

The move comes amid con­tin­ued calls from activists and politi­cians to take down mon­u­ments across the coun­try that are ded­i­cat­ed to racists, white suprema­cists and Confederate gen­er­als. 

Read More: Rep. Jim Clyburn recalls his last con­ver­sa­tion with friend John Lewis

Rep. Lewis was a cham­pi­on of the Civil Rights move­ment, and our Board strong­ly believes this is an appro­pri­ate trib­ute to an indi­vid­ual who is a true American hero,” Board chair Ricardy Anderson said in a state­ment. “We will also hon­or his life’s work by con­tin­u­ing to pro­mote equi­ty, jus­tice, tol­er­ance and ser­vice in the work that we do.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=indieartswag&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget‑0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284815610338312203&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrio.com%2F2020%2F07%2F23%2Frobert-e-lee-high-school-name-change%2F&siteScreenName=theGrio&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

This November, Americans will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to embody Lewis’ spir­it, take up his man­tle and car­ry on his endur­ing lega­cy by exer­cis­ing their right to vote. pic​.twit​ter​.com/​e​J​N​w​z​9​G​Fxi— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 19, 2020

Representative Tamara Derenak Kaufax, the board mem­ber who first pro­posed the name change in February, said in the release Thursday that Confederate val­ues “do not align with our com­mu­ni­ty.”

Our schools must be places where all stu­dents, staff, and mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty feel safe and sup­port­ed,” Kaufax said. “I believe that John Lewis’ extra­or­di­nary life and advo­ca­cy for racial jus­tice will serve as an inspi­ra­tion to our stu­dents and com­mu­ni­ty for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

Lewis died Friday at the age of 80 fol­low­ing a month­s­long bat­tle with can­cer.

Read More: Sen. Nikema Williams to replace John Lewis on November bal­lot

theGrio pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, he passed as the nation is grap­pling with racial ten­sions and civ­il unrest over police bru­tal­i­ty. 

Lewis was the last liv­ing speak­er at the march on Washington which he helped orga­nize in 1963. The doc­u­men­tary John Lewis: Good Trouble delved into his life of activism.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=indieartswag&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget‑1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1280570353845231620&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrio.com%2F2020%2F07%2F23%2Frobert-e-lee-high-school-name-change%2F&siteScreenName=theGrio&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

59 years ago today I was released from Parchman Farm Penitentiary after being arrest­ed in Jackson, MS for using a so-called “white” restroom dur­ing the Freedom Rides of 1961. pic​.twit​ter​.com/​O​U​f​g​e​a​N​DOm— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 7, 2020

Last month, Lewis attend­ed a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington despite his sick­ness.

We must say, ‘Wake up, America! Wake up!’ For we can­not stop, and we will not and can­not be patient,” said Lewis.

In relat­ed news, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday that Lewis will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. 

An invi­ta­tion-only cer­e­mo­ny will be held on Monday (July 27) at 1:30 p.m. The pub­lic can pay their respects on the front steps of the Capitol from 6 pm to 10 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. , per CBS News. Social dis­tanc­ing will be enforced and masks are required.(grio.com)

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