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Atlanta mayor evokes John Lewis: 'The baton has now been passed to each of us'

Atlanta mayor evokes John Lewis: 'The baton has now been passed to each of us'
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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsAtlanta mayor urges fans not to travel to 'made-for-TV' NBA All-Star Game Georgia GOP legislator introduces bill to increase penalties for crimes committed during protests Georgia city removes police chief, officer for racist comments uncovered in body camera footage MORE (D) delivered an impassioned call to action during the final night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, urging Americans watching at home to exercise their constitutional right and vote.

In her urging, Bottoms paid tribute to civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDOJ faces swift turnaround to meet Biden voting rights pledge Harris holds first meeting in ceremonial office with CBC members Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy MORE (D-Ga.), who recently passed away.

"He walked gently amongst us — not as a distant icon, but as a God-fearing man, doing what he could do to fulfill the as-yet unfulfilled promise of America," Bottoms said.

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After being one of the youngest leaders of the civil rights movement, Lewis spent decades in Congress, vehemently fighting for expanded voting rights.

"People often think they can’t make a difference like our civil rights icons, but every person in the movement mattered — those who made the sandwiches, swept the church floors, stuffed the envelopes," Bottoms said. "They, too, changed America. And so can we. The baton has now been passed to each of us."

She added: "We have cried out for justice, we have gathered in our streets to demand change, and now we must pass on the gift that John Lewis sacrificed to give us, we must register, and we must vote."

The expansion of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic has become a bitter battle between Democrats and Republicans. The majority of states have, however, loosened voting restrictions in some way in light of the pandemic.

Bottoms speech was rooted in the idea of unity, one of the main ideas that Democrats have centered their convention around.