JANS – The John & Vera Mae Perkins Foundation (JVMPF) will commemorate 63 years of fighting for “Justice, Reconciliation, and Christian Development” during its Gala Dinner with guest speaker Bryan Stevenson on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. The elegant, black-tie affair will take place at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Downtown Jackson, and kicks off with a Red Carpet VIP Reception at 5 p.m. followed by the dinner at 6 p.m.
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. He also initiated the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, which honors the names of each of more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the twelve states of the South from 1877 to 1950. He was depicted in the 2019 legal drama film Just Mercy, based on his 2014 memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.
Stevenson met Dr. Perkins while in college, crediting him for literally changing the trajectory of his life. After hearing him speak, he was encouraged to pursue law school at Harvard and seek justice for the poor. He loves the kinship that he has cultivated with not only Dr. & Mrs. Perkins, but also their daughters, Elizabeth, Deborah, and Priscilla Perkins.
For more than six decades, JVMPF founders John and Vera Mae Perkins have centered their family and ministry on faith. They have spent their life confronting racism in pursuit of biblical justice. In 1960, the couple left a successful life in California and moved back to Mendenhall, MS. There they helped to create the first Head Start Program in Simpson County, youth programs, church, cooperative farm, thrift store, housing repair ministry, a health center, and an adult education program in just 12 years. That work continued in Jackson, MS with the founding of Voice of Calvary Ministries in 1972; Harambee Ministries in Pasadena, CA in 1982; the Christian Community Development Foundation in 1989; the Spencer Perkins Center in 1999 (now Perkins Foundation), still located on Robinson Road in West Jackson; and so much more. Through a mission of transformation, restoration, and reconciliation, JVMPF has put faith into action to benefit not only West Jackson, but communities throughout Mississippi and across the nation. This is why their legacy will carry on.
“Our gala is an opportunity to honor the noble sacrifices of my parents – for the unspeakable price they paid and the path they paved for so many Mississippians. They say ‘a prophet is not recognized in his own home.’ That can be said of my father, but we will fight on for justice for the voiceless and make our community a place where children can thrive,” said JVMPF Co-President Priscilla Perkins.
“This is a can’t miss event,” added JVMPF Co-President V. Elizabeth Perkins. “Expect to be inspired and mobilized to join us in action as we continue to seek reconciliation and justice.”
Tickets are $150 and sponsorships are available at www.jvmpf.org. For more information, call (601) 354-1563.