Southern Company Honors The National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Southern Company honored The National Center for Civil and Human Rights for its longstanding impact on Atlanta and the southeast during the 2023 Evening of Excellence on September 22. Our President and CEO, Jill Savitt, travelled to Washington, D.C., to accept the award Friday evening on behalf of The Center at Southern Company’s annual event, which took place this year at The REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  

This recognition is a testament to The Center’s enduring partnership with Southern Company, which has been steadfast in its support since our inception in 2014. Southern Company’s President and CEO, Chris Womack, has served on our board and remains an ardent supporter and advisor.  

Southern Company’s Evening of Excellence is held annually in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference. It brings together thought leaders, influencers, and architects of change to honor an individual or organization’s remarkable contributions to their community. 

In expressing our gratitude, Savitt remarked, “This is an immense honor, and we are deeply grateful to Southern Company and the Congressional Black Caucus for recognizing our commitment to promoting dignity and justice. We may never be able to fully thank Southern Company for all its support, but I know how we can try: by continuing to engage and inspire people with the values that animate both our organizations: promoting dignity and justice.” 

Nearly 400 guests attended this year’s event including Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Congressman Sanford Bishop, Congresswoman Shontel Brown, Congressman Troy Carter, Congresswoman Yvette Clark, Congressman Hank Johnson, Congresswoman Lucy McBath, Congressman David Scott, and Congresswoman Terri Sewell. The event also drew government, nonprofit, and cultural leaders such as Stephen Benjamin – Senior Advisor to President Biden, Derrick Johnson – President and CEO, NAACP, and Nick Thompson – CEO, The Atlantic.  

The gala closed with a performance by legendary R&B group Boyz II Men.  

Southern Company’s Evening of Excellence has been held for more than 15 years. Past honorees have included Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director African American Museum, Derrick Johnson, NAACP President, Dr. Robert Franklin, former president of Morehouse College, Dr. Regina Benjamin, former U. S. Surgeon General, and Alfre Woodard, actor and education advocate.  

Savitt paid tribute to Congressman Lewis in her remarks, who had been a strong advocate for The Center and whose lifetime of rights advocacy set a powerful example for our mission – to create a more just and equitable world through dynamic and empathy-building experiences, teaching history’s connection to the present, and inspiring the change-maker in each of us to promote and protect the rights of all people everywhere. She reflected on The Center’s mission as it celebrates a decade of action in 2024.  

In December, The Center will break ground on a multi-million-dollar expansion aimed at broadening our impact. This expansion encompasses immersive programs like our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshops and our Truth and Transformation Initiative, which aids communities in unearthing hidden histories to foster healing and equitable futures. Southern Company’s 2023 Evening of Excellence reaffirmed our unwavering dedication to justice, equality, and human rights worldwide.