Rita Brent to headline Voices of Courage and Justice Gala on 60th anniversary of Medgar Evers’ death

Therese Apel

Photo: D'Artagnan Winford D'Artagnan Portrait

The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute announced today that Comedienne Rita Brent as host for the Voices of Courage and Justice Gala.

The gala will conclude a week-long series of Voices of Courage and Justice Festivities commemorating 60 years since the assassination of Medgar Evers.

Medgar and Myrlie Evers are widely regarded as two of the civil rights movement’s most influential leaders. Medgar was the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi. Myrlie worked alongside him to open and manage the first Mississippi office. The NAACP Mississippi State Office’s unrelenting work was instrumental in capturing critical evidence and witnesses in the investigation into Emmett Till’s murder.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Rita Brent as one of our hosts for the Voices of Courage and Justice Gala. I know that she will bring great energy, levity and grace as we honor my parents and other legends of the movement,” said Reena Evers-Everette, Executive Director of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute. “Now more than ever, we must empower all generations with the tools and fortitude needed at this critical juncture to protect our freedoms in Mississippi, the U.S., and across the globe. We hope the commemorative festivities will educate, enable and inspire every American to stand up, get involved and join together to create a better life for all Americans.”

Myrlie Evers is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the fight for social justice. Following Medgar’s assassination, Myrlie Evers would lead a 30-year campaign to bring her husband’s killer to justice. During those years, she raised their three children, shattered barriers in both the public and private sector, ran for congress against John Birch Society Presidents, and in 1995 was elected the third woman as Chairman NAACP as its third Chairman of the Board.

“It is such an honor to co-host this sobering, monumental event. As a native Mississippian, I am fully aware that my existence is due in large part to the sacrifices and activism of the Evers’ family,” said Rita Brent. “It is my hope to carry the torch of justice with the utmost courage to continue their legacy.”

Featured events during the 60th Commemoration include the “More Than A Widow” Brunch, Celebrating the Life of Myrlie Evers on June 8th, and conclude with the Voices of Courage and Justice Gala on Friday, June 9th. Myrlie Evers will be honored with a lifetime achievement award celebrating her storied career, and other dignitaries will receive the inaugural MMEI Voices of Courage and Justice Award.

Individual and paired tickets for the events are now available for purchase online. Attendees who purchase individual tickets are not guaranteed to be seated together, so buying tickets in pairs is recommended. Additionally, table reservations are available. Half-table seating for five and full-table seating for ten can be requested via email. Early registration is strongly encouraged.

“The legacies of Medgar and Myrlie Evers are important because they serve as a roadmap for all activists, advocates, and allies. Currently, our nation and the Southern region in particular is facing a dramatic rollback of the rights and freedoms that drove Medgar and Myrlie to activism in the 1950s and 60s,” said Dr. Marino Bruce, Chairman of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute. “Just like Medgar and Myrlie, the Institute will never stop fighting for what is right and just in the world. In 2023, 2024, and beyond, the Institute is committed to lifting up the voices too often silenced, registering and encouraging people to vote, defending our rights and freedoms, and challenging governments at every level to care for all of us.”

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