ATLANTA — Legendary Congressman and former Martin Luther King Jr. confidante John Lewis (D-Ga.) cemented his iconic status 50 years ago when he stood at the top of the notorious Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., stared down at the battalion of police officers with murder in their eyes, yet continued walking forward in his unquenchable quest for justice.
Lewis was nearly killed with a cracked skull during the unforgettable “Bloody Sunday” — as depicted brilliantly in the Ava DuVernay masterpiece Selma movie that was nominated for an Oscar. It was one of the monumental events of the Civil Rights Movement that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And Lewis has faced danger and fierce opposition with valor and fearlessness ever since.
Because of his tireless advocacy for civil and human rights, it is apropos that the Honorable John Lewis will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Center for Civil and Human Rights on Thursday evening.
At the event, Founder and President of Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson will be honored for his highly renowned and inspirational work in bringing marriage equality to Georgia and throughout the United States.
The gathering, “Igniting Change,” will be held at The Center for Civil and Human Rights on Thursday, Oct. 1 from 6-9 p.m. It is the largest annual awards reception and fundraiser for Gideon’s Promise, the nationally renowned organization that works tirelessly to inspire mobilize and train public defenders to provide the highest quality representation to people unable to afford an attorney.
Congressman John Lewis will also be in attendance and recognized for his civil rights advocacy and a career of working to secure Constitutional justice for all citizens. Gideon’s Promise will also honor Congressman Lewis with a number of celebrations, including: unveiling its Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be named after the congressman; an in-person tribute from an army of public defenders whose lives and careers he influenced; a dance performance from the Dance 411 Kids Foundation; and more.
Chubb Rock, a hip hop legend known for his dedication to the community and ability to rock the crowd, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
“These men are champions in working to ensure ‘equal justice for all’ rings true for every American, especially those populations our society has labeled as “the others,’ says Jonathan Rapping, founder of Gideon’s Promise and MacArthur Genius Fellow. “From Evan’s campaign for marriage equality nationwide, to Congressman Lewis’ staunch track record in fighting for civil rights, we could not be more proud to honor these men at our most prestigious annual event. And we are thankful to have the incredibly talented Chubb Rock serving as our emcee. His charm and showmanship make him the ideal host for our marquee event.”
For more information about Igniting Change and to learn more about Gideon’s Promise and the work it is doing, please visit www.GideonsPromise.org, or contact (404) 525-4505.
About Evan Wolfson
Evan Wolfson is Founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide. In 2012, Wolfson received the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside President Barack Obama During the 1990s, he served as co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case that launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry, and has participated in numerous gay rights and HIV/AIDS cases.
He wrote the book, Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry, published by Simon & Schuster in July 2004. Citing his national leadership on marriage and his appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, the National Law Journal in 2000 named Wolfson one of “the 100 most influential lawyers in America.”
About Congressman John Lewis
Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.
In 1977, Lewis was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, a federal volunteer agency. He was elected to Congress in Nov. 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then.