DeKalb, Decatur leaders launch task force to honor John Lewis

7/30/20 - Atlanta, GA - Victoria Evans, 9, writing a message in the poster of John Lewis outside Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
7/30/20 - Atlanta, GA - Victoria Evans, 9, writing a message in the poster of John Lewis outside Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Two DeKalb leaders have launched a task force aimed at figuring out the best way for the county to honor late Congressman John Lewis.

DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson and Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett signed a joint declaration establishing the task force last week. The group will hold its first meeting on Wednesday and have six months to make a recommendation.

“John was a giant of a man, with a humble heart,” said Davis Johnson, whose husband Hank was among Lewis’ congressional colleagues. “He met no strangers and he truly was a man who loved the people and who loved his country, which he represented very well. He deserves this honor.”

Lewis, who died last month after a battle with pancreatic cancer, represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Atlanta and much of DeKalb. In the weeks since his passing, a number of community members have suggested erecting a statue of Lewis to replace the Confederate obelisk that was recently removed from the downtown Decatur square.

The new committee established to honor his memory has more than two dozen members.

“John Lewis was an inspiration and voice of hope for all,” Garrett said, “and his legacy lives on to instill a vigilant, expectant hope to this generation of young advocates of good trouble.”

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

· Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, ex officio

· DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, ex officio

· DeKalb County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, ex officio

· Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett

· Juanita Powell Baranco

· Former DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis

· Decatur Commissioner George Dusenbury

· Former DeKalb County Commissioner Gail Waldorff

· Heather Fenton

· Brian Werthiem

· Audrey Maloof

· DeKalb NAACP president Teresa Hardy

· Eric Ellis

· Avondale Estates Mayor Jonathan Elmore

· Mawuli Davis

· Rev. Dr. Emory Berry

· Jan Selman

· Dr. Thomas L. Coleman

· Dr. Ed. Lee III

· Karima Jones

· Melissa Carlson Forgey

· Dr. Sharon Hill

· William Cook

· Sherry King

· Angie Macon

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