“It’s a difficult time that we’re going through in America,” Georgia congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis says in the early moments of Dawn Porter‘s insightful and inspiring upcoming documentary Good Trouble: John Lewis. “My greatest fear is that one day we’re going to wake up and our democracy is gone.”
It was 2018 when Rep. Lewis made those remarks, so you have to wonder how he felt waking up Tuesday morning, hours after police in riot gear used tear gas to remove peaceful protesters from President Donald Trump’s path to a photo-op at Washington, D.C.’s St. John’s Church and the commander-in-chief saying that he would deploy the U.S. military to American cities to battle civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police.
“Doesn’t that just land so differently now? I have to say, I’m not easily shocked. I was really shocked and stunned by that,” Porter, a former ABC News journalist whose other film credits include the docs Gideon’s Army (2013) and Trapped (2016), told Yahoo Entertainment in a phone interview this week. “I can certainly understand political difference. But this is beyond being Republican or Democrat. This is just human.”
As for her iconic 80-year-old film subject: “He is calm. He understands. He’s seen this before. And he has the benefit of knowing that we can come out of it but we have to be vigilant. We’ve all gotta do things a little bit differently.”
Born in Troy, Ala., in 1940, Lewis has come to personify peaceful protest perhaps more than any living American. In his battles against segregation and for voting rights, he was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the early-mid 1960s, became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders in 1961, spoke at the March on Washington in 1963, and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, where his skull was fractured by Alabama State Troopers who attacked protesters with tear gas and batons as they knelt to pray.
Lewis proudly says he was arrested 40 times in the ’60s — and five times since — in Good Trouble, which traces his life and legacy, from being inspired into activism by Rosa Parks to the three-plus decades he’s spent as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. “He’s never waited for permission,” Porter says. “And he’s consistent in his method. He hasn’t lost his moral center, even if others lost theirs.”
This article was originally posted on yahoo.com/entertainment/.