Civil Rights and Modern Fights


An eight-year-old boy getting tear gassed.  It wouldn’t be the last time he would have to endure this torturous pain and wrongful act.  Senator Lew Frederick is no stranger to racial inequality as he has experienced it since a young age. As a black man who grew up in the South in the time of segregation, Frederick knows exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about in his “I Have A Dream” speech. In fact, the two men were once neighbors and Fredrick grew up alongside Martin Luther King Jr.’s children.  As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Frederick reflected on some of the issues that our society has faced. Fredrick even says that Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the adults who encouraged him to do better and to “make things better for the people who came after me.” 

Frederick spoke about how he faced racial inequality and times when he was tear-gassed as a child–something that no child should ever have to go through.  He witnessed friends and family being treated wrongly as well.  His parents also fought against racial inequality and injustice in society as did Martin Luther King Jr. and many other influential adults in Fredrick’s life.  Frederick’s background in education, communications, and news reporting added to his career as a Senator, a position he has held since 2016.  As a Senator, Fredrick feels strongly about supporting education, environmental issues, and transportation initiatives to shape the world into a better place for all. He has voted in support of bills to limit carbon emissions and reduce greenhouse gases among other causes to benefit the environment. 

One major theme in Frederick’s life has been that of change. He said that he never expected to be a senator, he thought he would be a scientist or an actor on stage. “But things change,” he said, “The things in your life will change and get better.” From theater to biology, Fredrick has held many jobs and pursued many different paths that have allowed him to gain knowledge to help the world around him in a positive way. “…I’ve managed to work and to use the various jobs and opportunities and positions that I think actually make a difference,” said Fredrick when asked about his greatest accomplishment in a recent interview with Sabin-Schellenberg’s Journalism students. Frederick is hoping to run for reelection in 2024 to continue to do his part to use his past knowledge and create a better future.