Social justice organization to honor Evers, Winter as Champions of Justice

August 22, 2012

(JACKSON, MISS.) – Mississippi Center for Justice will honor two Mississippi natives for their legendary roles in advancing racial and economic justice. Myrlie Evers and William Winter will be honored during the Center’s annual Champions of Justice Dinner, to be held Thursday, September 27, at 6 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex. 

“We are delighted to honor Myrlie and William, two Mississippians who have spent their lives working to protect civil rights and advance justice for all Mississippians,” said Martha Bergmark, founding president of the Mississippi Center for Justice. 

Myrlie Evers has been a civil rights activist and leader since the 1950’s, when she worked alongside her husband, Medgar, to end racial segregation in Mississippi. After her husband’s assassination in 1963, Evers moved with their children to California, where she had a successful career in the private sector while continuing to advance the cause of civil rights. In 1989, she pushed for reopening the charges against her late husband’s killer, and five years later, a jury convicted Byron de la Beckwith on murder charges. Evers returned to Mississippi in 2012 as a distinguished scholar-in-residence at Alcorn State University.

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter is a revered leader in promoting high-quality public education and racial reconciliation in Mississippi and nationally. As governor, he championed the Education Reform Act of 1982, landmark legislation that mandated compulsory school attendance, higher standards for teacher and student performance, and statewide public kindergarten. In 1997, Winter was appointed to President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race. In 1999, the University of Mississippi established the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, which works to build more inclusive communities by promoting racial diversity and citizen engagement. 

The Champions of Justice Dinner is the Mississippi Center for Justice’s annual opportunity to honor those who have made significant contributions to the cause of justice for all. It is also a chance for the Center to share a firsthand look at its work to combat discrimination and poverty statewide. Champions of Justice honorees are selected by the Center’s Board of Directors. Candidates are considered for their experience and leadership in activities that have, and continue, to advance racial and social justice in Mississippi.

The dinner will be followed by the 2012 Great Mississippi Road Trip, an educational, entertaining journey through the Mississippi Delta and beyond.

For more information about the Champions of Justice Dinner, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Lauren Welford at (601) 352-2269, or via email lwelford@mscenterforjustice.org. Tickets can also be purchased via our website.

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ABOUT THE MISSISSIPPI CENTER FOR JUSTICE

The mission of the Mississippi Center for Justice is to advance racial and economic justice. The Center carries out its mission through a community lawyering approach that combines legal services with policy advocacy, community education and media advocacy. The Center partners with national, regional and community organizations and with lawyer and law student volunteers to develop and implement specific advocacy campaigns.  These campaigns are creating better futures for low-wealth Mississippians and communities of color in the areas of educational opportunity, financial security, access to healthcare, affordable housing and community development.