In memoriam of the Honorable John Lewis and his fight for LGBTQIAS+ equality in child welfare.
“So many children dream of a stable loving family. Many adults want to open their homes and their hearts, but they face barriers because the system says that they follow the wrong religion, that they love the wrong person, they’re not married. My friends, this is not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not just.” – Representative John Lewis
This Black History Month, we want to elevate and commemorate Black champions of the child welfare system. The late Representative John Lewis from Georgia was not only a civil rights leader and a Southern hero, but he was also a defender of LGBTQ+ equality from the beginning of his career in politics in the late 1980s, to the end of his life in 2020. He vehemently opposed discrimination in any and all federal systems, and believed that a little “good trouble” would be necessary in the fight for equality.
In 2013, Representative Lewis co-sponsored the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, a bill that would prohibit anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the federal child welfare system. It would prohibit discrimination against foster and adoptive parents based on their LGBTQ+ identities, religion, and marital status, as well as ensure that LGBTQ+ youth in foster care would receive affirming and culturally competent care. Although the bill did not pass in 2013, it has been re-introduced by Representatives, who renamed the bill after Representative Lewis’ passing to The John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act. The bill also inspired a national campaign of LGBTQIA2S+ advocacy organizations working to support queer youth and families through policy protections, AND contributed to the creation of FosterClub’s #FosterEquality work!
Young people in and from foster care were, and continue to be, lucky to have such a champion for the rights of all youth and families. We will be eternally grateful for Representative John Lewis’ advocacy and support of LGBTQ+ foster youth and families, and will continue to be motivated by his unstoppable dedication to equality for all.
“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light … Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.” – Representative John Lewis
“John Lewis saw in gay rights a movement like civil rights.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2020.
HR 2028: Every Child Deserves a Family Act. 113th Congress