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In a powerful eulogy, Barack Obama connects John Lewis' work with the issues America faces today
via Wikimedia Commons

Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush eulogized the late Representative John Lewis at an Atlanta church on Thursday. The event capped off the sixth day of memorials for the civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman.

Lewis passed away from pancreatic cancer on July 17. He served as a Congressman from Georgia's 5th district from 1987 until his death. Lewis was instrumental to the civil rights movement, helping to organize the 1963 March on Washington and serving as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963 to 1966.

In 1965, Lewis was attacked by state troopers and police as he led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.



via Victoria Pickering / Flickr

The most eagerly-awaited speaker at the event was former President Barack Obama. In the past, Obama has referred to Lewis as a "hero" and said he only made it to the White House because of the "sacrifices he made." In his speech, Obama proved the importance of Lewis' lifelong fight for equality by highlighting the struggles that America is facing today, namely the death of George Floyd and voter suppression. He also took a veiled swipe at President Trump by comparing him to segregationist George Wallace.

"Today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators," Obama said. "I know this is a celebration of John's life," he continued. "There are some who might say we shouldn't dwell on such things, but that's why I'm talking about it."

"John Lewis devoted his time on this Earth (to) fighting the very attacks on democracy and what's best in America that we're seeing circulate right now."

"Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run up to an election," Obama said.

"It's going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don't get sick," Obama said to a standing ovation.

Obama sealed Lewis's place in history by deeming him one of America's founding fathers.

"America was built by John Lewises. He, as much as anyone in our history, brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals," he said. "And some day, when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it's years from now, or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America."

Former President Bill Clinton used his speech to urge people to continue Lewis' fight. "He never lost heart. He fought the good fight, he kept the faith," Clinton said. "It is so fitting on the day of his service, he leaves us our marching orders: 'Keep moving.'"

He also said that in his final days as president, he was asked if he was granted three wishes, what would they be? One of them was to make people in Lewis's image.

"I would infect every American with whatever it was that John Lewis got as a 4-year-old kid and took through a lifetime to keep moving and to keep moving in the right direction and keep bringing other people to move and to do it without hatred in his heart, with a song and to be able to sing and dance," Clinton said.

Former president George W. Bush spoke highly of Lewis' character. "John Lewis believed in the Lord, he believed in humanity and he believed in America," Bush said at the funeral.

"He's been called an American saint, a believer willing to give up everything, even life itself, to bear witness to the truth that drove him all his life: that we could build a world of peace and justice, harmony and dignity and love," he continued.

President Trump did not attend the memorial.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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