J.Rich Atlanta believes in elevating influential voices in our community. Today, we hear from Tuere Butler, director of Congressman John Lewis’ Atlanta office. Tuere has been with Congressman John Lewis for more than 20 years and has played a part in many programs, initiatives, and decades of positive change their office has brought to Atlanta!
For me, the idea of public service began at home... I remember this concept was common in my house. The question “what did you do today?” was synonymous with “ did you help anyone?, What did you do for someone else?” At a very young age my parents instilled in me “if you aren’t doing for someone else, then what are you doing?” It is this question that continues to navigate my moral compass. As an only child my parents wanted to make sure that I didn’t end up self-centered. As I got older and witnessed how they lived their lives, and treated people it became apparent it’s in our DNA. They not only talked the talk but walked the walk.
This idea followed throughout my adolescent years and manifested itself through my volunteering at senior homes, hospitals, and completing hours of community service projects in high school and college. If I ran down the list of my service activities, it would be extensive. To have a lengthy list was never the goal. It is simply a part of me. Public service is something not to be merely checked off but it calls for your complete engagement.
I am a firm believer that you give value to your life by impacting the lives of others. For the past seven years, I along with my Husband serve as mentors to 18-25 years old through our church’s ministry. I believe we were not put on this earth just to live in an isolated self serving bubble but rather we were put on this earth to live in a loving community. The matrimony of giving and receiving, servicing and being served is the “ying and yang” to a harmonious life.
I didn’t realize the impact that coming to work for Congressman John Lewis would have on my life when I first began in his District office. May 2018 marked my 20th year serving my community, state and country under the leadership of one of the great civil rights icons, a trailblazer: Congressman John Lewis. He has afforded me the opportunity to use my skills, talents and knowledge to assist 5th congressional district residents. I work on behalf of men and women who need support, advocacy and guidance to deal with sometimes complex federal issues that impact their lives. My objective is to make a positive difference in the lives of the constituents. Congressman Lewis continues to be my shining example of sacrificing for the greater good. What he and his colleagues endured during the Civil Rights Movement remains a constant reminder of the power of perseverance; pushing out what is wrong, unjust and unfair to make things right.
My work, while satisfying, comes with its disappointments and frustrations. I am often asked “how do I keep from getting burned out?” My response is the Congressman remains a steadfast example, my motivating force. I’ve adopted his mantra of “never giving up, never giving in.”
As a public servant working with Congressman John Lewis I know I can not give up when there is so much work to be done. I keep in mind this quote “ If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”- Congressman John Lewis