The highlight of the inaugural fundraising gala for the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation was rapper Common’s performance of “Glory,” the theme he co-wrote for the movie “Selma.” Gospel artist Le’Andria Johnson stood in for John Legend in singing the hook and brought the house down with her powerful vocals.

John Lewis was among the real-life civil rights activists portrayed in the movie, and Common spoke beforehand about how intimidated the cast felt having him visit them on set as they brought to light his story of courage and determination.

The program featured both of Georgia’s U.S. senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who were each influenced by Lewis prior to their runs for office. Warnock was Lewis’ pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Ossoff once served as a congressional aide to Lewis.

“Without Congressman Lewis, there is no Sen. Ossoff,” he said.

There were many references to the past weekend’s mass shooting in Buffalo — one that appears to have been carried out by a young man radicalized by white nationalist conspiracies — and contrasting that deadly racist massacre with Lewis’ message of nonviolence, love and community.

Charles Childers, the Virginia student who led the effort to change the name of his high school from one of a Confederate leader to that of John Lewis, read a poem he wrote: “And Now We Honor Him.”

The organizers of the dinner also worked hard to ensure that Lillian Miles Lewis, the congressman’s wife who preceded him in death, received just as much attention for her role in supporting his career and the overall mission of the civil rights movement. Pictures of the couple were displayed throughout the room.

ExploreGala event will launch foundation honoring John and Lillian Lewis