It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the Interim President of SCLC WOMEN, Inc. I have had the pleasure of serving on the board of SCLC WOMEN, Inc. for more than 20 years and I am humbled the board of directors selected me to lead this distinguished organization after the sudden death of our beloved “leader” Yvonne Lowery Kennedy.

Our founder and “Leader” Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery, soft spoken, strong, dedicated woman was the epitome of what a civil and women’s rights leader should be.

She was not only an advocate of the movement, but she also lived it. Most importantly she documented it as demonstrated by the original Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery Heritage Tour, erecting monuments of those, some famous and some not so famous who gave their lives in the quest for justice. In this climate of those who are trying to deny, distort and eliminate the history and contributions of Black Americans, our Heritage Tour has never been more important than it is now.

Dr. Lowery was a visionary. She was an early champion of identifying the rise in AIDS among Black Women raising the awareness and educating women about this dreadful disease. She understood the devastating impact of domestic violence and the plight of single parenthood when she created Pampering for Peace Domestic Violence, and the importance of Bridging the Gap between generations as so amply noted in the song Glory, it takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy.

Our Drum Major for Justice and the unmatchable commitment and unselfish giving of our volunteers, staff and advisory board is the lifeline to the success and the sustainability of our organization for more than four decades.

Raised and educated in Oakland, California, I began my career as a union activist while working as a clerical worker at Alameda County’s hospital, where I was a founding member of my local union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 616. I was the first African American woman elected as president, and the first African American appointed to the top position of Executive Director of Local 616. I was honored to be the first African American to be elected to international office, serving two terms as Executive Vice President of the SEIU, the largest International Union in North America.

I am a former board member of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) where I served as the chairperson of the Debate Committee that planned and produced the historic 2008 CNN Congressional Black Caucus Institute National Presidential Debate featuring former United States President Barack Obama, and for seven years conducted the annual CBCI Education, Training & Leadership Development Program producing more than 300 graduates including our own board member Attorney Meredith Lilly, ESQ.

I am the proud Mother of one son, Andre, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. I am unsure if I can fill the shoes of Dr. Evelyn Lowery, but I am going to make every effort to follow in her footprints.

SCLC/WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR EQUALITY NOW, INC. offers intergenerational programs designed to empower women, girls, and families as they relate to human rights, social action, economic self-sufficiency, reduction of health disparities and leadership to build strong families and communities.

SCLC/WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR EQUALITY NOW, INC. remains active in our community all year round with a variety of programs and activities. These activities range from history presentations, life skills trainings for young ladies and women of all ages, addressing important concerns within our community – both locally and worldwide, recognizing the leaders in our community who strive for these values and more.

Dr. Evelyn G. Lowery was born in Wichita, Kansas on February 16, 1925, and was the daughter of activists Rev. Dr. Harry and Evelyn Gibson. They provided her with the inspiration that became the foundation for a lifetime of involvement in human rights at both the national and international levels. Her father served as president of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP and her mother was involved in community organizations. She attended Clark College and Youngstown University. She married Rev. Joseph Lowery in 1950. He was the President Emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement. She also marched in the historic Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, and established an annual Civil Rights bus tour to commemorate “Bloody Sunday”.

In 1980, Mrs. Lowery created the Drum Major For Justice Award, held annually near the April 4th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the founding president of the SCLC, who wanted to be remembered as a “Drum Major For Justice.” The awardees are recognized by their contributions to the cause of freedom, equality, and achievement in their professional fields. A partial list of awardees includes Rosa Parks, The Original Tuskegee Airmen, Rev. Hosea Williams, Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Mae Jamison, Andrew Young, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., and James Meredith. She was also responsible for the erection of the Civil Rights Freedom Wall in Perry County, Alabama, and monuments honoring movement icons such as Viola Liuzzo, John Lewis and Hosea Williams. In 2004, Mrs. Lowery was herself honored at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mrs. Lowery radiated grace, a quiet strength, and a sense of humor as she directed the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc. organization. She was the epitome of  the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31 and remained involved in every detail of the actions of the organization.


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