Last week’s “Occupy Atlanta” protest baffled many around the country when a YouTube video showed what appeared to be Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis being denied the opportunity to speak at a “general assembly” marked by lengthy call-and-response chant rituals.
But Lewis, who appeared on MSNBC’s “Up w/Chris Hayes” on Saturday, said he wasn’t offended at all.
“Well, I didn’t feel that I was denied the right to speak,” Lewis said. “I couldn’t stay around for 45 minutes or to an hour to speak. I had another engagement. And I had to be there on time.”
The politician, known for advocating for racial set-asides in Congress, assured viewers he was invited back to speak anytime.
“We did similar things during the early days of the civil rights movement,” Lewis explained, “especially the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. We tried to reach consensus and people had to work their way through an effort and I understood it very well. I was not offended. And since then they have invited me to speak anytime. But I’m here in Washington, and I don’t plan to be back in Atlanta for a few days.”
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