By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Senior Communications Specialist
The presentation of the 2013 Mississippi Annual Conference's Emma Elzy Award will likely capture the attention of many people from outside the conference, as Myrlie Evers, wife of slain civil rights
activist Medgar Evers is scheduled to present the award. Evers will help recognize the group of Mississippi Methodist ministers who signed a 1963 document known as the Born of Conviction Statement, which declared the ministers' disapproval of discrimination, the closing public schools to create private schools with tax funds and communism.
The presentation will take place on Sunday, June 9, during the 10:00 a.m. session of the Mississippi Annual Conference gathering at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson.
The Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church's Commission on Religion and Race chose to honor the group after reviewing several nominations for the award.
Emma Elzy, described as a woman of great faith, was an active member of the Methodist church for 70 years while attending more than 50 annual conferences. Elzy was known to go beyond the norm in order to bring unity and inclusiveness to the body of Christ. She spent her life advocating for better race relations, church relations and family relations. Elzy died in 1985 at age 98.
The Emma Elzy Award encourages reconciliation by honoring an individual, group or institution that has shown outstanding achievement in race relations in the state of Mississippi. Nominees must have shown outstanding achievement in race relations through the building of interracial relationships, the establishment or operation of a program emphasizing race relations, work beyond the "call of duty" or any other significant activity that promotes reconciliation. Although United Methodists may receive preference, the selection process does not exclude persons or agencies from other denominations or faith traditions.
The Born of Conviction Statement can be viewed here.