The Collision of Pandemics.

The Collision of Pandemics.

Over the last year, we navigated an unprecedented global pandemic that according to WHO (World Health Organization) claimed over 3 million lives worldwide. As we navigated a viral plague, we also faced other insidious opponents. The COVID-19 crisis elucidated and exasperated long-standing racial inequities and systemic disparities within the American economic system, healthcare system, educational system, and law enforcement. We slowly began to navigate multiple pandemics simultaneously, resulting in collective trauma.

Our reality was reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi dystopia. We watched as states strategically passed voter suppression bills and eroded our democracy. Marginalized communities were pushed to the margins of the margins. The income gap deepened. Our indigenous communities were further disenfranchised. We bore witness to multiple killings of unarmed Black women, men, and children. For a brief moment in time, our often divided nation united. We galvanized to demand an end to the brutality, hate, racial injustice, and systematic oppression.   

As vaccination rollouts increase and the world slowly tries to regain homeostasis, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the events of the last year. Our hearts are with those affected by and lost to the pandemic. We honor the lives lost to brutality and hate.

We remain committed to our mission of promoting and cultivating positive social change, intergenerational civic engagement, social and economic justice, and research on equity, and justice worldwide. We encourage you to use this time to engage in anti-racism work and advocate for and on behalf of all marginalized communities affected by social, economic, and political injustice. Join us in our mission to achieve an equitable society that values all human beings regardless of race- creed, gender, sexual orientation, or disability status-as sentient and worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are building the compassionate, kind, empathetic, and equitable world that we envision.

“Every individual deserves respect and dignity and that individually and collective people have the capacity, power, right and responsibility to effectuate social change”

~ Medgar Evers

Congratulations to our Executive Director, Reena Evers-Everette

“I am proud and excited to be named a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network fellow and learn with the Center for Creative Leadership about ways to advance racial equity and racial healing in communities. I am looking forward to the opportunity to connect, grow, and lead transformative change on behalf of children and families as a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network fellow. I invite you to follow my journey and support our community efforts at” #WKKFCLN

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Congratulations to the Evers family

Congratulations to the Evers family

Congratulations to the Evers family, Mississippi and the nation on the signing of the bill establishing the Medgar and Myrlie Evers home  which makes the house a national historic landmark.  The designation is a timely and perhaps, prophetic reminder.  In   our collective efforts to address  the myriad number of divisive  issue of today’s society,  we too often neglect to remember those  heroes and sheroes , who shed blood and tears and made the ultimate sacrifice to pave the way for all Mississippians to continue the fight against adversity. The act to establish the house as a national monument  is a reminder that   in the search for common ground , for the common good of the state and nation, the legacy of Medgar and Myrlie Evers is a cornerstone towards achieving that goal.


-Board of Directors

The Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute

Her thanks are mixed with memories

Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting

By Jerry Mitchell

Myrlie Evers expressed thanks that her family’s home is becoming a national monument.

Her gratitude mixed with memories. “It will always be the home that Medgar Evers and I lived, loved and reared our children in until he was shot in the back of the driveway of our home because he fought for his beliefs of justice and equality for all citizens of the United States of America,” said the widow of Medgar Evers, who turns 86 Sunday.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed the legislation, creating the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument.

In World War II, Medgar Evers fought the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy, only to return home and fight racism all over again in the form of Jim Crow that barred African Americans from restaurants, restrooms and voting booths.

A graduate of Alcorn University, he was turned away in January 1954 when he attempted to become the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi’s law school.

Before the year ended, the NAACP hired him as the first field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP.

He put about 40,000 miles a year on his Oldsmobile, traveling the roads of the state, recruiting NAACP members and investigating killings, beatings and other mistreatment of black Mississippians.

On the night of June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered his first civil rights speech to the nation.

Myrlie Evers and her three children, Darrell, Reena and Van, stayed up to watch Kennedy’s speech on their black-and-white television in their bedroom.

Each time Myrlie Evers visits the family home, “memories of the night come flooding back into my entire being,” she said.

Just after midnight, she said she heard her husband pull into the driveway, close his car door and then something unforgettable — “this loud shattering sound of gunfire.”

She rushed to the carport door, opened it and saw her husband struggling, covered in blood.

She screamed, and so did her children.

“That nightmare is still there,” she recalled. “All of those memories are as vivid to me today, all these years later.

“In remembering that nightmare, I find myself very frightened today about our democracy and where we are going.”

She hopes and prays that work will continue “to correct the wrongs that are still being perpetrated and to rid ourselves of the lies told about who we are, what we are and where we should be,” she said.

“I see a ray of hope with the young people of this country that my husband fought for.”

In 1994, Myrlie Evers finally saw justice for her husband’s killer, who went to prison, where he died.

A year later, she won a close vote to chair the national NAACP, which was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

She helped turn the civil rights organization around financially before turning the leadership over three years later to civil rights pioneer Julian Bond.

Although she is now retired, she is far from silent.

“I will continue to fight for justice and equality as long I have breath to breathe,” she said. “I shudder at the thought of where America is today in race relations and other areas, but I do believe there is a spirit that rises in us, that is much larger than us.”

A quarter-century ago, the family donated their home to Tougaloo College, which has a small museum inside and gives tours to several thousand visitors a year.

Now, the National Park Service, which named the home a national historic landmark a few years ago, will take over renovations and other needs.

Myrlie Evers praised Mississippi’s congressional delegation, which pushed for the home’s recognition, and to Tougaloo’s leaders for “protecting and caring for our home, which my children and I gladly turned over to them for their care and nurturing.”

She is pleased her family’s home will be kept “as a living monument” to her late husband, who was determined to see that “America kept its promise to all its citizens,” she said. “I hope thousands and thousands of people will be touched by his work for justice, equality and freedom.”

She still thinks about her husband’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, where then-NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins declared, “Medgar Evers believed in his country. It remains to be seen if his country believes in him.”

She sees a “crucial turning point in our democracy today,” she said. “It remains to be seen if the values that Medgar Evers fought and died for will continue to be a guiding light for this country, a man who believed in justice and peace for all.”

This story was produced by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that seeks to hold public officials accountable and empower citizens in their communities.

Make a contribution today

“Although great strides in the field of human relations have been made, we cannot let up now!”
—Medgar Evers, April 1961
Dear Friends,
The Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute (MMEI) continues the vision of its founders, Medgar and Myrlie Evers, who envisioned a world where all people are treated with respect and dignity and work together to achieve social, economic, and political justice.
Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for human and civil rights change agents who are engaged, highly-skilled and enlightened, who advocate for communities experiencing injustices throughout our country.
Our commitment is to improve social justice through education, engagement, and leadership–the foundation of thriving societies. MMEI works collaboratively with strategic partners to fill significant gaps in social justice education and offer opportunities to engage in contemporary social justice issues. We are intent on fostering sustainable results through practical and comprehensive approaches to social challenges.
Please join MMEI and help support our important mission of preparing young people to lead, with the help of your donations.
 We are poised to take our efforts to scale by enhancing our signature program,
 Evers – Teach. Act. Publish. Promote. (E-TAPP).This initiative integrates a research-driven curriculum and a leadership program model, which promotes civic engagement and builds resiliency and hope in more than 1,000 youth and adults annually.
Through MMEI’s outreach programs like Evers Youth Empowerment Scholars (EYES); the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Scholar Program and the Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture Series, we continue to strive towards engaged and responsive communities.
To ensure clear and meaningful implementation and fusion of our work at such a critical time in history, we need your help today in growing and preparing young leaders for this generation and the next!
Please give generously during this season of giving; our young people deserve opportunities to embrace their position as leaders for positive social change!
We greatly appreciate your support and donations.
Respect! Dignity! And Peace for All!
Visit our donate page and make a contribution today

Yet again…

Yet again…

Yet again…newspapers’ front pages, television news headlines, and social media platforms scream loudly about the death of another black man, killed by the bullets of a police officer.

Yesterday, yet again…by eyewitness accounts, Alton Sterling, from Baton Rouge, La., was not resisting arrest; nor was he attempting to pull a weapon.

Yet again…another camera as a reliable witness captures a police officer upholstering his gun…dispatching and extinguishing…with bullets point-blank to the head…again, the life of yet another black man.

Yesterday, how would I know that TODAY in the span of less than 24 hours, Philando Castile’s name, likeness, and dying face would be emblazoned in our psyches, as his girlfriend and her young daughter witnessed his horrifying death at the hands of a Falcon Heights, MN. police officer?

Yet again, the camera is a reliable witness.

At what point does our nation COLLECTIVELY stand up and say, “No more?!”

At what point do our leaders acknowledge that this is a disproportionate assault on the black community…on black men?

At what point do black lives REALLY matter to those in law enforcement?

The vast majority of law enforcement professionals are doing their jobs, protecting and serving people while they also must face significant dangers. They do so every day.

The vast majority of citizens respect, supports, and relies on law enforcement.

But there are those police officers who have NO RIGHT to the uniform because their callousness at human life—BLACK human life—has become all-too-easily explained away by the words, “He had a gun; I feared for my life.”

To compound that “fallback excuse,” there’s the quick rush to judgment by the court of public opinion when the victim has a prior criminal record.

Having a record should not mean that you should be shot in cold blood.

Having a record should not mean that you can’t sell music in front of a store where the owner gives you permission to do so.

And, having a record should not mean that you continue paying the price once you have paid your debt to society.

Philando Castile had no record, held a job for 12 years as a responsible adult, had a permit to carry a weapon, yet he was shot dead, even as he complied with a request to produce identification.

In its simplicity, it is a call for the nation to speak out against the injustice of these killings that more often than not are beyond questionable. It is a call to acknowledge that a problem exists, and a call to find ways to address and root out the clear prejudices.

This nation must acknowledge the unjust, racist, ‘police-officer-as-executioner’ mentality that so many have come to believe—not accept—because black folks are not accepting of it…as the status quo.

Until this occurs, we will see more such killings, more police officers who act without discretion, more black men dying at their hands, and more families left without a husband…brother…father…son.

Yes. ALL lives matter in the human race, but if black lives don’t matter to the human race because society is still so quick to judge a black person based solely on skin color, then this vicious cycle will continue, and we will be here…yet again.

Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963 fighting for equality because ALL lives mattered.

As much as he fought for equal rights for everyone, what drove him was the inescapable fact that black lives DID matter, and that a light needed to be shined on the ugliness that permeated the times of the day, and which today threaten—if this nation allows it—to become the rule again rather than the exception.

That was the foundation for his work, his life, and ultimately, for his and our family’s greatest sacrifice.

He fought for the simple dignity of walking and living the life of a black man who asked first and foremost to be recognized as such…no different than what we ask today.

Medgar Evers would agree that black lives STILL, and DO matter…53 years later.

May the families of Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, John Crawford, and today, Philando Castile—those whose deaths actually made headlines—and those that remain nameless and anonymous find peace and comfort. The Medgar Evers family and MMEI send heartfelt prayers of healing to the families of these senseless and tragic acts of violence.

-Reena Evers-Everette