On WXYZ Detroit News 7 -- 11/03/2019 11:01:19 PM
Preparing for the final farewell ...
Tomorrow, the Congressman who represented Detroit for more than five decades will be laid to rest.
"I hope that his legacy is really a model for future leaders to follow." The Congressman's former staffer celebrate his life tonight in Detroit at a place close to his heart.
But first, as thousands prepare to say goodbye to former Congressman John Conyers, Jr. at his funeral those who knew him best celebrated his life tonight.
The late Congressman passed away a week ago at the age of 90.
He cherished every opportunity to serve his community.
"Are you ready for a victory?" he asked
He was the longest serving African-American Congressman in U.S. history and a celebrated civil rights icon.
He co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus and led the fight to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official Federal holiday.
Dozens of former staffers gathered at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit.
That's where we find Jenn Schanz. She is live there.
"This place holds a very special place in Conyers' life and also with Conyers' inner circle, is that right?"
Reporter: "Absolutely, it does. in addition testifying that you two mentioned for those who knew him best, Conyers was also a jazz buff, and Baker's Keyboard Lounge was a place he frequented."
A few dozen former staff members came here, from all around the country, to not only remember their former boss but also share memories.
The day before the longest-serving African-American Congressman is laid to rest in front of thousands, a smaller celebration with those who worked alongside him for decades.
We wanted to make sure that we got together as a staff to honor him.
Reporter: "A group of the Congressman's staffers met Sunday night at Baker's Keyboard Lounge."
"Jazz was number one, you know -- in the office he would always have jazz music on."
Reporter: "Whether it was fighting for voter rights or against racial injustice, as a boss, they say Conyers had his own way of do things.
"More demanding than people know," said Robert Weiner, former Conyers staff member."
"He really liked talking to people. He was a giant, but he was also just a man who really believed deeply in public service. When it came to talking about tragedy, they say Conyers was a natural leader.
"Always think long term," said this former staffer remembering the Congressman on 9/11.
"Moments after Tower Two fell, Mr. Conyers quickly went to work on trying to put together a town hall meeting or press conference because his major concern was that people would maybe try to racial profile and there would be riots and he wanted to avoid that. I hope that his legacy is really a model for future leaders to follow."
Reporter: "Most of these staff members flew in from the DC area. Again, this comes one day after thousands are expected to say their final farewell to the Congressman during a funeral tomorrow morning here in Detroit. "Live in Detroit, Jenn for Action News.
"Thank you. That funeral is going to be held at Greater Grace Temple on West Seven Mile in Detroit. It starts at 11:00 AM tomorrow morning. Former President Bill Clinton and Reverend Jesse Jackson Senior are among those expected to speak.