In 1980, Fannie M. Lewis was elected to the Cleveland City Council. Lewis was a strong advocate of school vouchers. The Plain Dealer called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case one of her biggest victories.
“It’s like a burning house. You know, what do you do, let the house burn down and kill everybody or go in there and save who you can? And that’s what the voucher’s about. If I decide that I want to take a voucher and go shop for my child then I ought to be able to do that…Why do you want to limit me to where I can go and buy my education from?”
-Fannie M. Lewis (Frontline, “The Battle over School Choice” Air date 5/23/00)
For having the courage to stand up for Cleveland’s children, Fannie M. Lewis will forever be remembered as an inspiration and a champion for school choice. During our recent celebration in Cleveland, we honored Senator Nina Turner, Representative Bill Patmon, and Friends of Breakthrough Schools President John Zitzner with School Choice Ohio Courage Awards in memory of Fannie Lewis, and in honor of their unwavering commitment to securing a quality education for Cleveland students. See their acceptance speeches below.