- Joe Biden said that democracies have to stand up for the values that define 'us'
- Joe Biden was speaking at the Summit for Democracy for which he has invited 110 nations
- China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and a dozen other states have not been invited
US President Joe Biden on Thursday invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela while referring to the work done by Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights activist, during his opening remarks at the Summit for Democracy. He said Congressman John Lewis was a great champion of democracy and civil rights around the world and took inspiration from other great leaders - Gandhi and Mandela.
"Democracies are not all the same. We don't agree on everything. But the choices that we are going to make today together are going to define, in my way, the course of our shared future for generations to come," Biden said.
"Congressman John Lewis was a great champion of American democracy and civil rights around the world, learning from and taking inspiration from other great leaders like Gandhi and Mandela. In the final words, when he was dying, he reminded our country when he said -- Democracy is not a state, it is an act," he added.
Biden said the democracies have to stand up for the values that define "us". "We have to stand for justice and rule of law for free speech, free assembly and free press, freedom of religion, for inherent human rights for every individual," he said.
Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He fulfilled many key roles in the civil rights movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 until his death in 2020. He died due to pancreatic cancer.
Biden was delivering his opening speech on the first day of the virtual ''Summit for Democracy'' which focuses on challenges faced by various democracies. Washington has invited 110 counties for the summit with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and a dozen other states not invited.