Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain Mississippi civil rights activist Medgar Evers, is set to speak at President Barack Obama’s inauguration Jan. 21. Evers-Williams will deliver the invocation, while Atlanta’s Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church will deliver the benediction, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Tuesday.
“Their voices have inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond. Their careers reflect the ideals that the vice president and I continue to pursue for all Americans — justice, equality, and opportunity,” read a statement from the president.
Almost 50 years ago, Medgar Wiley Evans was assassinated for his work with the NAACP, and his efforts to solve the murder case of 14-year-old Emmett Till. In the years since, Myrlie Evers-Williams has continued the cause that they began together, becoming the first black woman to serve as commissioner of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works and eventually being named chairperson of the NAACP in 1995. She helped restore the organization’s relevance, and worked to eliminate its debts. She served three years.
“I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States — especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement,” Evers-Williams said in a statement. “It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era.”
Giglio is the founder of Passion Conferences, an organization that holds spiritual conferences for those of college age. The movement, launched in 1997, sponsors events in Hong Kong, Sydney and Cape Town and other cities. Passion 2013 was held Jan. 1-4 at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
“I am honored to be invited by the President to lead our nation as we look up to God, and as we look ahead to a future that honors and reflects the One who has given us every good and perfect gift,” Giglio added in the statement released by the committee.