accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

John Lewis not miffed by “Occupy Atlanta” dis

A frame from a video clip shows U.S. Rep. John Lewis' unsuccessful attempt to address the Occupy Atlanta gathering.

A frame from a video clip shows U.S. Rep. John Lewis' unsuccessful attempt to address the Occupy Atlanta gathering.

A 10-minute video clip of U.S. Rep. John Lewis‘ unsuccessful attempt to address the Occupy Atlanta gathering in Woodruff Park is burning up the blog and Twittersphere.

To put it mildly, it’s not going over well in some circles.

To #occupyatlanta General Assembly. You are a bunch of (blank)heads. Congressman John Lewis is an American hero,” tweeted hip hop industry mogul and activist Russell Simmons. He supports the Wall Street protestors that spawned Occupy Atlanta, though, tweeting more recently, “White people catch a cold blacks get pneumonia. We must join in #occupywallstreet. Education and health care cut while rich get richer.”

Jay Smooth, a hip hop DJ in New York, tweeted, “Disappointed to hear that John Lewis was not allowed to speak at #OccupyAtlanta. Hoping organizers will hear feedback and learn from it.”

The video clip of the protesters discussing the matter, and of Lewis leaving without speaking, has been gathering steam online. As of about 11:15 a.m. today it had logged more than 180,000 views on YouTube. In the clip, the protestors discuss the matter by repeating phrases, vote by waving their hands and ultimately decide that Lewis should come back later. At one point someone off camera shouts “John Lewis is no better than anyone else!”

Lewis, a Civil Rights Era icon, was gracious when we asked him about the matter.  ”It’s ok,” he said during a brief interview Sunday night at the Woodruff Arts Center, site of a 90th birthday celebration for his fellow Civil Rights Era activist, the Rev. Joseph Lowery. Both the park and arts center are named for the late corporate titan Robert Woodruff, a longtime president of Coca-Cola and major philanthropist.

Lewis had been en route to a Pride event when he stopped by Woodruff Park.

“They didn’t really deny me,” Lewis said. The protestors decided he could return after their agenda items had been completed,  but because of the Pride event, Lewis didn’t have time to wait around. The group has since issued a statement saying, “We are dismayed that anything we have done would seem to show disrespect for a man whom many of us revere, and apologize to everyone who was hurt or angered by our actions.” And they say Lewis can come back.

Lewis said he was not dismayed, despite his key role in the nation’s struggle for civil rights, that he was not more eagerly received when he initially stopped by the park.

“These are different times,” he said.

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

117 comments Add your comment

James

October 10th, 2011
8:19 am

He should not have been surprised that they didn’t want to hear from him. After all he is one of the people who worked so hard to get us in this mess. Remind me what has he done in Congress in the last 30 years other than occupy a seat?

Hunter

October 10th, 2011
8:23 am

These people are right, they are amongst the 90% of the population that really just don’t get how life works.

Arrogance knows no bounds

October 10th, 2011
8:30 am

John Lewis has been in Congress seemingly forever. He has faced no real opposition since his election. To allow this man to speak about struggle of any kind would be an exercise in nostalgia only. He is completely irrelevant to today’s issues, as the poster above notes.

The truly sad part of the Wall Street and Occupy Atlanta protests is how clueless most of the participants are. They feel powerless, unproductive. In the ultimate irony, their solution is to use the power of the state to confiscate the property and labor of others hoping that the courtiers in Washington will give them a slice of the booty. Trading current misery for dependence and inefficiency will be their legacy.

Chris

October 10th, 2011
8:34 am

Hate to say it, but he tried to stick his face into this and got the door slammed in it. This isn’t the first time this political oppotunist has hijacked a gathering of people. He did the same thing after 9/11 and didn’t add a thing to the discussion. The man really hasn’t done anything lately but pick up awards for stuff he did 40 years ago. What have you done for us lately, Lewis?

Greg

October 10th, 2011
8:37 am

If I showed up at John Lewis’ office unannounced and he was in the middle of a meeting of any kind would he stop his meeting and engage me in a discussion?

GUNGA DIN

October 10th, 2011
8:38 am

why would anyone want to listen anyone who is part of the “do nothing Congress”. he is part of the problem, NOT the solution. people who think that they are “owed” a place in Congress due to their previous actions should be thrown out. just what has he done for America in his 30 years of being a politician. earn your place or get out of the way!!!

Jackie Robinson = Hero to Us All

October 10th, 2011
8:43 am

These Occupy Atlanta nutjobz are pretty much clueless about American & American Civil Rights History, but apparently even THEY had heard enough the cumulative speeches of Congressman Lewis to know he was just going to tell them to blame all of the world’s problems on those “Wight Wing Wepublicans.”

clipper

October 10th, 2011
8:44 am

Political opportunist, not unlike al sharpton and jesse jackson. He has never done anything credible other than civil rights marches. I applaud him for that. The flea party is just enjoying a smokefest, it will be over in a couple of days with less than a thousand parasites ever having been involved.

Paul From Milton

October 10th, 2011
8:46 am

None of these guys get it. It isn’t a black/white thing or a Democrat vs. Republican thing. It’s a have vs. have not thing. Lewis, Simmons, etc. are the establishment. They are the “have” guys. It’s the same reason Rep. Rangel was shouted down by Occupy Wall Street. He represents the establishment.

DB

October 10th, 2011
8:46 am

The people who have posted before me this morning generally have no idea what they are talking about. John Lewis has fought for theirs and others’ basic human rights his entire life, regardless of skin color. Want to know what he’s been doing for us the last 40 years? Then stop being intellectually lazy and actually research his voting record and the positions he supports, instead of making empty claims and hiding behind an anonymous blog.. I’ll even give you a place to start, his official U.S. House website is http://johnlewis.house.gov/

Obama Supporter

October 10th, 2011
8:46 am

The stimulus is working !!!

Special thanks to the uninformed protester.

Logic 05

October 10th, 2011
8:48 am

John Lewis is living in the past.
If he were White he would be unemployed.

Vote for Obama cause he's black

October 10th, 2011
8:56 am

John Lewis cannott be taken seriously.He is only a token congressman elected by an overwelmingly black district that has,as Herman Cain says “been brainwashed to vote for the democratic party”.The only time you hear about him is when he is joining the other irerelevant civil rights activists (Lowery,Sharpton,Jackson) to get an award at a ceremony,banquet.
These people are out of touch with young people.They merely “exist”,do absolutely nothing to address the horrors going on in the black community.
They are not wanted by young blacks,or whites at any gathering,protest.The occupy wall st. group would more likely identify with someone like Cornell West and Tavis Smiley.

Tom Smith

October 10th, 2011
8:58 am

If morons could fly this place would be an airport

Rev. Lester

October 10th, 2011
8:59 am

The most active thing I can do is wait. The more we move and shout, the less we are heard. All the noise becomes but chattering doldrums and tinkling cymbals. Today find one person, invest compassion, and encourage them to do the same. I will never change the world, my challenge is not allowing this world to change me.

[...] dis got the group called out by none other than Russell Simmons, who supports the Occupy movement, though Lewis was basically cool about it. He is, after all, a [...]

Jennifer

October 10th, 2011
9:03 am

The ignorance and poorly cloaked racism in these comments is astounding. Look up his voting record and review this mans history and accomplishments. Then come back here and try to claim he’s “part of the problem” or irrelevant. Fools. I fully support the Occupy movement, but if this is a reflection on how it will proceed, it’s doomed for failure and that would be a very sad thing.

Steve Belzer

October 10th, 2011
9:03 am

I think a lot of people are misunderstanding what happened here. They did not say he couldn’t speak. They said that he had to wait until the floor was open to everybody before he could speak- that he couldn’t be given a special slot to speak because of his status as a respected civil rights leader and elected official. This was not a dis- this was the exercise of truly egalitarian and democratic process.

Drew

October 10th, 2011
9:04 am

I love to see the looney left dissing themselves. And chanting like myrmidons. Keep it up, gang.

Penny

October 10th, 2011
9:08 am

These are, without a doubt, the biggest freaks and losers I have ever seen in my lifetime. Just look at them! They must be the offspring of the hippies…people who think they are owed something simply because they were born. Go get a job people!!! You aren’t entitled to anything except maybe air!!

Atlanta Allen

October 10th, 2011
9:11 am

C. Tampa – I am not a fan of Mr. Lewis’ political positions or of people who choose not to speak clearly. BUT it is not a choice for him. Before you criticize Mr. Lewis’ speech, go get hit in the head standing up for your basic human rights and the rights of others like he did. See how well you can speak after a head injury. I think his positions of late are misguided, but no one can deny his heroic past.

Worm

October 10th, 2011
9:16 am

These folks make the Tea Party crowd look like brain surgeons.

Melvin Udall

October 10th, 2011
9:17 am

He voted for the bank bailouts and other bailouts of Wall Street firms. He should be voted out of office….period.

ron

October 10th, 2011
9:20 am

I’m sure the snub did not have anything to do with Mr.Lewis being a civil rights icon but rather he’s a representative of the U.S. Congress which is an integral part of the economic problems along with Wall Street as well as the White House.

26belly

October 10th, 2011
9:29 am

@C. Tampa I…take your transplanted Yankee @$$ back north of Kentucky where you came from. If you don’t like or see the benefit of the sacrifices that Rep. Lewis has made to society and this country,…then stand your punk, colonial bread @$$ on the corner of Peachtree and Ponce and see how long you last in the ATL. Grow up, you’re faceless on the internet, no body gives a hairy rats @$$ about your opinion or what you think you have to contribute! Heel!

dinkdunk

October 10th, 2011
9:31 am

The video was “laugh out loud” funny. Sort of George Orwell meets kindergarten class. It was really strange how angry that “leader dude” seemed to get when telling Lewis he’d have to wait until they achieved consensus. I wonder how many of them took a break Sat night to go see Widespread in Alpharetta-some of them looked (and smelled) familiar.

Riddle me this: If the group came to a consensus that they should get a rope and “hang someone from the highest tree” and no one “blocked it” would they do that?

dform

October 10th, 2011
9:32 am

The people at all of these occupy Wall Street events across the country are being propped up by George Sorros, and his communist/Marxist/socialist views and desire to change the country into a communist state. Wake up America. The kids here are brainwashed. The brain washing is happening in our public schools and colleges and universities. Some are being paid to be in these rallies.

Our country is in deep trouble. Our media is not doing it’s job to give true unbiased information to Americans. They are involved as well. This is a very scary time in our country as we have too many who do not understand our County’s history or founding documents. Wake up!!! Dig deep into what is really happening and don’t rely on the news on TV to let you know what is really happening.

John

October 10th, 2011
9:40 am

John Lewis, Idiot Reid and any other Democrat or
Republican who has been in office more then 2 terms
is the main reason we are in this economic mess!
Vote these guys out… Term limits please….

LOL

October 10th, 2011
9:43 am

@dinkdunk – LMAO “Sort of George Orwell meets kindergarten class.” That is the PERFECT description of those unwashed and brainwashed morons out there.

I’m actually very happy to see these ‘protests’ around the country. They remind the rest of America how completely socialist and lazy liberals are. Liberalism is like herpes. You forget how bad it is until it comes back.

MomPossible

October 10th, 2011
9:47 am

So, a big group of idiots with an entitlement mentality wouldn’t listen to a big idiot with an entitlement mentality?

Tea Partier

October 10th, 2011
9:48 am

Term Limitations !

Venita Peyton

October 10th, 2011
9:50 am

The problem with many of our black Congressional reps in the ‘black’ community is that they refuse to step down and allow a new generation to bring new ideas to the table.

Kareem

October 10th, 2011
10:01 am

Down with the white man!

Dr. Awesome

October 10th, 2011
10:11 am

“The people at all of these occupy Wall Street events across the country are being propped up by George Sorros, and his communist/Marxist/socialist views and desire to change the country into a communist state.”

Wow, that’s some claim. Got any proof?

Ashley

October 10th, 2011
10:17 am

John Lewis is a Moron. He can barely even speak English.

H

October 10th, 2011
10:18 am

If these losers spent as much time organizing these dumb rallies as they would looking for a job, they wouldn’t be unemployed.

Montel

October 10th, 2011
10:18 am

The occupy atlanta people are racists for not letting John Lewis speak! There is way too much racism down here against African-Americans! I may move back to jersey next year if the economy improves up there.

JWC

October 10th, 2011
10:20 am

Thank God for freedom of speech and video camera. America, you HAVE to watch this video. OMG. I laughed until I cried. It reminded me of the scene in the movie, Animal House (”I, state your name”). Absolutely, priceless. ….and the hands in the air. Were they voting or waving to the mother ship? OK, Space Cadets, please, please, please keep this up. Obama’s poll numbers will drop like a rock. The “Tea Baggers vs. the “Tin Hats”.

Seer

October 10th, 2011
10:23 am

Those of you who feel so smugly self-righteous to criticize OWS protesters for how they look or for not having jobs (as though they were easily gotten like low-hanging fruit) don’t realize that every revolution has started with the ossified (bet you have to look that word up, smuggers) lords of the status quo making similar criticisms of those who are not happy with it. You can criticize until the day they take the top dog position and you’re on the bottom. Better start taking them seriously now, since they aren’t going to stop thinking that the 1% can go on raping this nation as they please. With the unions, clergy, and increasing number of CEOs who ‘get it’ like the head of PIMCO speaking out on their side, they will steamroller the status quo. Your choice is whether to make it clean or messy. And by messy I mean bloody, since that is always where things go in a revolution where those who hold the status quo resist. These aren’t communists any more than your unemployed aunt is: they’re legitimate people with legitimate complaints and they know it.

The Bam

October 10th, 2011
10:24 am

They’ll all go away once it starts raining.
Too bad Rep Lewis couldn’t speak, but the “occupiers” wanted to beat their drums and chant. Not listen to a respected civil rights warrior.
It’s also a shame that Mr Simmons, Jay Smooth, and other “RICH” black CAPITALISTS are on board when they’re the ones keeping their race from progressing.

Seer

October 10th, 2011
10:25 am

Oh and one more thing. This isn’t about Obama OR the Republicans. They all know that the Republicans AND the Democrats caused this economic mess (Rememember Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall.) It’s a referendum on the 1%, not your favorite politicial whipping-boy.

What do you expect

October 10th, 2011
10:28 am

@James ~ your first post was my original thought at well.

What?

October 10th, 2011
10:28 am

i dont get it…I DONT GET IT…will you help me understand?…WILL YOU HELP ME UNDERSTAND?…is this like simon says?…IS THIS LIKE SIMON SAYS?…if so…IF SO…i get it…I GET IT..or…OR…i have…I HAVE…the only…THE ONLY…megaphone…MEGAPHONE

Jim Skol

October 10th, 2011
10:29 am

What is left when the left does not let the left speak, join the tea party

Charles Rangel

October 10th, 2011
10:30 am

Well you see, John Lewis and I fulfill an important function. Were black, ya see. And because of this fact, were the only one’s that can be black.. Which is why I’ve been serving in the Congress for over 35 years. And that’s why I say thank god for slavery because it’s allowed me to have a pity-my-sorry-azz because I’m black career in congress for 35 years now. Much like my good friend, my black friend, John Lewis.

ginny

October 10th, 2011
10:31 am

Come on C. Tampa….John Lewis is only trying to hep the chillren

Save the USA from itself

October 10th, 2011
10:33 am

1. Balanced Budget Amendment

2. Term Limitations for congressman & senators

3. Enact a flat tax so everybody has to pay into the system; no exemptions or loopholes

4. American English will be the national language. No signage or forms will be printed in any other language.

5. All Church-owned property with the exception of the worship sanctuary will be subject to property tax

6. Lawyers cannot run for high office

Observant

October 10th, 2011
10:34 am

The more these celebrities speak out the more we learn how bigoted and racist they are like Spike Lee, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Morgan Freeman and other black leaders such as the Congressional Black Caucus. This is not about black,white, Hispanic or other races, its about how some corporations manipulate the system, buy off politicians whom give them perks or advantages over other businesses such as small businesses. GE paid zero taxes on several billion $$$$ of profits yet the Obama administration has the president of GE advising him even though GE has reduced employment in the US and hires more people internationally specifically China. GE also is involved in a venture with China that has the potential to compromise US military avionics technology, why? Because China is a huge market for GE, forget the US security interest, its about $$$$$. John Lewis is a civil rights hero like Joseph Lowery but they have bigotry in their blood because of past issues with race relations.

Georgia Tech Student

October 10th, 2011
10:34 am

Our Civil Rights class tried for months to get him to visit but got totally ignored by his local office. It took my friend in the US Capitol walking down the hall to Lewis’ Chief of Staff to even show up on the radar. A week after the semester was over his office asked if we were ready for him to visit. How totally clueless and out of touch can he get !!! John Lewis did much to advance Civil Rights many years ago but as a US Representative he has lost contact with his constituency.

Korean Man

October 10th, 2011
10:35 am

Why you guys so angry all the time. We work hard and do well, except when you guys rob our stores and kill my grandfather. You keep yourself down and blame everyone else. People no listen no more. We tired of your complaining. Get your act together. It’s been 50 years and you guys still not worth a bowl of rice. What wrong with you?