Congress returned to Washington on Monday and began the process of grieving Rep. John Lewis, with the opening prayer on the House floor giving way to a moment of silence and tributes for the late Georgia Democrat before turning to what promises to be a busy week of legislating.
“The Congress returns mourning the loss of a sweet man, a saint, warrior and prophet, John Lewis,” House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy said.
In the Senate, Chaplain Barry Black similarly paid respects in his opening prayer. “Lord, we thank you for your providence that brought us the gift of Rep. John Lewis. We’re grateful he was a drum major for justice, truth and righteousness,” he said, echoing the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that are inscribed just a few short blocks from the Capitol at the King memorial.
Plans for Lewis’ memorial services won’t be announced until later in the week, his family said, a move out of deference to the family of C.T. Vivian, another influential figure from the civil rights era and a longtime acquaintance of Lewis, who also died July 17 in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Georgia Democrats on Monday chose state senator and state party chairwoman Nikema Williams to replace Lewis as their 5th District nominee on the November ballot.