REMEMBERING DR. SONYA: Columbia activist impacts many in Midlands community
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Last weekend, Columbia lost a human rights advocate and community leader.
Dr. Sonya Lewis was killed by a hit and run driver during an accident while she was attending a remembrance service for a teenager who was also killed by a hit and run driver at the same intersection.
“Helping, always reaching out, always touching, always trying to make life different for those who needed help,” said Rev. Elizabeth Wine at Dr. Lewis’ funeral on Friday.
A member of Saint John Baptist Church, Dr. Sonya Lewis helped out with the food pantry and was active in the domestic violence ministry.
“We’ve also supported domestic violence awareness at Saint John. We praise God for her life, her work and her legacy,” said Rev. Dr. Jamey Graham of Saint John Baptist Church.
Lewis had long been an advocate for domestic violence and those less fortunate. She founded the nonprofit My Sister’s Voice and acting as a spokesperson for the community group One Common Cause.
“When we think of Dr. Sonya Lewis, we think of a woman of honor, respect, integrity and yet a woman whose life and service has made an impact on the church, the community and our families,” Rev. Graham said.
In her own family, she is fondly remembered. Lewis leaves behind five children and 27 grandchildren.
“I would consider myself to be the favorite, but my mother had a way of making every kid feel like the favorite,” said Lewis’ son Jerry.
She also was loved by her extended family and friends, who she cherished spending quality time with despite her job and community projects.
“But she made time for this. This was who this person was,” said Sonya’s uncle, Otto Smith. “She was loving, giving and will be greatly missed.”
“So family, children, if you want to continue your mother’s legacy, take up that attitude. Take up that unwavering resolve to be committed to the work of justice, caring, and sharing with somebody else,” Graham concluded.