Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., the president and the CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said today that the legendary civil rights organization will launch a global movement for the freedom of Pervis Payne, a Tennessee man with intellectual disabilities who was sentenced to the death penalty for the 1987 murders of a 28-year-old Tennessee mother and her two-year-old daughter. With the announcement, the SCLC joins a growing number of organizations seeking Payne’s freedom. The campaign has led to a massive movement with nearly one million people signing a petition for Payne’s release.
“We feel that Mr. Pervis Payne has been caught in a system where a miscarriage of justice is taking place in terms of him being sentenced for over 33 years and all of that time, he has been on death row,” Dr. Steele said. “It is a miscarriage of justice in terms of his situation. We have researched it. We have talked to the experts. We have talked to the people involved who have worked with this case for many years. We know beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Payne is innocent and should be exonerated.”
For the first time in about a decade, Mr. Payne appeared on Friday in a Memphis court for a hearing on his case that could be decided in December. Dr. Steele was in Memphis on Thursday and Friday to support Mr. Payne. The focus of the SCLC’s effort, he said, is to raise global awareness and drive public pressure to free Payne, other innocent death row inmates and to force the U.S. to end the practice of the death penalty.
According to a 2020 report by the Death Penalty Information Center, there are 2,553 people on death row in the U.S, and, of that number, 1,076 (42.15 percent) are White, and 1,062 or 41.60 percent are black when Black people make up less than 14 percent of the U.S. population. Texas leads the nation with 572 inmates on death row. There are 13 in Tennessee. Zane Floyd of Nevada is due to be executed on July 26th.
“First of all, I do not believe in the death penalty,” Dr. Steele said. “Who are we as human beings to take a life when God gave a life? I believe people who have been involved in crimes and those who perpetually commit crimes, should be punished, but not at the hand of the death penalty. Give them life without parole. This gives an opportunity for those who really know the facts and have researched the facts to bring about the exoneration of people, preventing them from being executed. What if Mr. Payne had been executed prior to his 33 years on death row, then that would have been an innocent man killed just because of the discrimination from people who said he wanted to have a sexual encounter with a white woman after he looked at an issue of Playboy Magazine. Many people of color have been lynched because of the stigma surrounding… white woman.”
Dr. Steele said Americans and those of influence internationally cannot sit idly by and allow this miscarriage of justice to continue. Of the people on death row, five percent are innocent, and no innocent person should be executed.
“We have a right to protect and a right to educate in the court of public opinion that what took place over 200 years ago as far as lynching and unjustifiable executions of people of color is still happening today,” Dr. Steele said. “It is just another form of slavery and modern-day lynching. Memphis, the state of Tennessee and human beings around the world must be accountable. The Jim Crow mentality is why Mr. Pervis Payne is up for execution.”
Dr. Steele added, “If you believe in fairness, you need to get behind this movement on Pervis Payne. You need to march right now. You need to understand what Dr. King said when he said, ‘Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.’ You are just as bad as the prosecutor and people who want to execute him if you do not open your mouth and support this movement. Free Pervis Payne.”
About The SCLC
Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: North, South, East, and West. Its sphere of influence and interests have become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.
Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.
This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.
The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others.
In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.
360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.
In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.
As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.
Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives.
The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.
Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.
Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.
Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.
Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.
Chapter 5:Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.
Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.
Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.
Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”
Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.
Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.
Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving.
Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.
Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.
Move Like Water x Be Fluid is available in PDF format on Blurb.
The SCLC’s Streets to the Suites Campaign Will Target PepsiCo to Help Resolve Dispute Between the Global Food and Beverage Giant and Retired Longtime Hispanic Executive Richard Montanez
Montanez’s Legacy of Creating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for Frito-Lay is Being Challenged by the Company. SCLC President Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. Said Montanez’s Contributions Should Not Be Diminished
Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said the SCLC will lead a campaign to help resolve a dispute between PepsiCo and retired, long time Hispanic executive Richard Montanez, who is known as the creator of Frito-Lay’s successful snack brand, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Montanez, who was a keynote speaker during the SCLC’s annual conference in 2017, shared his journey of climbing the corporate ladder in PepsiCo from a janitor to an executive vice president after he introduced Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to the company.
His rags to riches story has been chronicled in numerous media reports and in his recently published memoir. His life’s story will also be featured in an upcoming film by Christian Producer Devon Franklin and Hispanic American actress and director Eva Longoria. Shooting for the film is scheduled to begin this summer.
Dr. Steele said SCLC officials will seek an immediate meeting with Ramon L. Laguarta, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, to help mediate an agreement between both sides and to protect Mr. Montanez’s legacy. The outreach by the SCLC is part of a national campaign the organization launched last fall called “From the Streets to the Suites,” targeting corporations that have been accused of discriminating against employees of color or maintaining environments that are hostile or unjust. The first protest was waged against the Nielsen Co., the global data and measurement company, which was sued by a senior Black executive for discrimination. That lawsuit was settled in March.
Dr. Steele said the timing of PepsiCo’s claims is suspect.
“PepsiCo is one of the leading companies in the world,” Dr. Steele said. “It hires the top PR and Marketing executives who are supported by the largest public relations, marketing and advertising agencies in the world. They review media reports daily. How can this story be in the public domain for years without being detected by the top executives in the world hired to protect their brand? Pepsi would not have elevated a Brown or Black man, with no high school diploma, unless he had contributed in a significant way. PepsiCo cannot disrespect a man like Richard Montanez without some fallout or repercussion.”
Dr. Steele added, “Our organization and our communities will not stand for this. We will not sit idly by and watch a valuable member of our community, who has contributed significantly, as confirmed by PepsiCo, be disrespected without evidence showing who presented the concept to the company. This idea originated in the brain of one person. This was not the creation of a team. Until proven otherwise, we will stick with Montanez’s claim. I just hope this is not systemic racism continuing in another corporation by PepsiCo refusing to grant what is due to a man who has served them well.”
ABOUT THE SCLC
Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests have become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.
“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a newbeginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get[in] back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. Let all those who dojustice and love mercy say Amen! Say Amen! And Amen!”
Recently, our team journeyed to Washington, D.C. for the National Action Network’s Commitment March. The August 28 march marked 57 years since the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have A Dream” speech. According to the National Action Network’s website, the goal of the march was to advocate for comprehensive police accountability reform, promote participation in the Census and motivate voters to cast their ballots in the upcoming Presidential election.
The National Action Network was founded by Rev. Al Sharpton in 1991. With nearly 100 chapters nationwide, the civil rights organization works in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. to achieve “one standard of justice, decency, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression or sexuality.”
The trip from New York to Washington, D.C. was made easy by taking Amtrak’s Acela service. Despite the higher price point, the Acela is newer and less crowded than regional trains. The express train eliminated the burden of tolls and stopped in only a few cities, arriving in D.C. after about three and a half hours. It can be stressful to travel right now, so it was a relief to see how clean the train was. The quiet car, basic free wifi and outlets on board provided the perfect environment to research and write articles on our tablets. We utilized our extra time to discuss with one another and prepare for our coverage of the march and our days in D.C.
The café offered coffee and various snack options, and the sliding glass doors made it easy for us to walk through the cars. The reclining seats were comfortable and allowed us to rest before our trip. There were also sections of four seats for those traveling in a larger group. Each passenger could bring two personal items weighing up to 25 pounds, and two carry-on bags weighing up to 50 pounds at no additional cost. Amtrak is currently offering reduced fares for two to six tickets purchased together where riders can save eight to 45 percent.
Luckily, we were able to call Amtrak in advance to ensure we could carry on our folding bicycles. With limited parking available in the city, electric bikes served as a great mode of transportation for many protesters. E-bikes such as the DYU Smart Bike and a custom scooter from Good Vibe Gliders were an affordable alternative to renting a car, and made covering and participating in the march much easier.
The Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks started early Friday morning. Participants marched through the National Mall, many carrying signs remembering those whose lives have been lost in acts of police violence. Others displayed “Black Lives Matter” on flags, shirts and masks.
Some participants created street art during the event, voicing their support through their work. At one point, a number of demonstrators stood together in the Reflecting Pool in front of the Washington Monument. Marchers reached the section of 16 Street NW that has become known as “Black Lives Matter Plaza” around 3:30 PM before dispersing for the day.
Organizers of the march upheld COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. The National Action Network placed multiple signs throughout the National Mall encouraging social distancing, and took marchers’ temperatures as they entered the area. Face masks were distributed to people who did not have one, and visitors from high-risk areas were urged to join virtually from their homes. There was also a testing booth on site, as reported by WUSA 9.
The march was co-convened by Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. Among the thousands of attendees who gathered on the National Mall were the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Jacob Blake. Many members of these families gave speeches at the Lincoln Memorial, along with lawmakers from across the country. These congressmen and women pushed for legislation that would address cases of racial injustice.
Though she was not present, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris shared her message to marchers via Twitter. In her speech, which was played at the event, she said, “…if we work together, to challenge every instinct our nation has to return to the status quo, and combine the wisdom of long time warriors for justice, with the creative energy of the young leaders today, we have an opportunity to make history, right here and right now.”
Yolanda Renee King took the stage to address the crowd, standing where her grandfather had led March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In a video posted by CNN she said, “We stand and march for love and we will fulfill my grandfather’s dream.” She then led a chant of “Show me what democracy looks like; This is what democracy looks like!”
Friday was also the 65th anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder. The 14-year-old was lynched and thrown off a bridge while visiting family in Mississippi. He was abducted after “allegedly whistling at a white woman,” according to ABC 7 Chicago, and his body was found mutilated in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s family never received justice, as the two men responsible for his death were both acquitted. Till’s murder helped to spark the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Civil rights leader and former congressman John Lewis wrote that “Emmett Till was [his] George Floyd” in a New York Times essay that was published on the day of Lewis’ funeral.
The trip provided a meaningful experience to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as time to see local relatives. 360 President Vaughn Lowery visited his uncle Leroy Lowery, the former executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, who raised over $120 million for the Stone of Hope.
Leroy Lowery is the son of the late Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights leader who helped Martin Luther King, Jr. establish the Southern Christina Leadership Conference, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Leroy Lowery attended the march with his father in 1963 and stated on Friday, “to see that we have to march [again] 57 years later is deflating.”
BPC Honors the Late Civil Rights Icons – Rev. CT Vivian, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery and Congressman John Lewis. We stand on the shoulders of these great civil rights icons who sacrificed for descendants of slaves, colored, black, african-americans, human rights and all people.
From the BPC Team:
“I cannot imagine what life today would be like if Rev. Vivian, Dr. Lowery, and Congressman John Lewis had not given their lives to the struggle for freedom and equality. They strategized, organized, advocated, marched, and relentlessly worked on behalf of black people’s rights.”
– Dwayne Ashley, Founder and CEO, Bridge Philanthropic Consulting
“The Honorable John Lewis emptied himself for the betterment of the African American community, the country, and the world. Through a lived-out faith and hope, he taught us mountains will move. And, when trouble tries to last, get in the way of it. Be good trouble. Necessary trouble. Congressman Lewis, I will.”
– Tashion Macon, PhD, MBA
“Giants of a generation attacked at every turn while fighting for what is still an elusive quest for freedom, equality and justice for all people and especially those of color, in what is said to be the freest society in the history of the world.”
– Adriana Higgins
“How triumphant is it that three of America’s preeminent Civil Rights Icons were called to rest during the same time? Congressman John Lewis, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rev. Joseph Lowery, a trinity of drum majors for justice, helped to change a nation’s response to human rights. They will forever have their imprints on the African American culture as a force for positive change.”
– Steve E. Ballard
“Rev. Dr. Joseph E Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis: America has lost three giants in just a few months; all replaceable and all of them prolific changemakers and servant leaders. Because of their infinite contributions, courage, and vision for equality, America owes a debt of gratitude we can only repay by following their exceptional examples.”
– Jennifer Jiles
“The contributions of Dr. Joseph E Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis simply cannot be overstated. My generation owes much of the progress we’ve seen in freedom, equality and peace to their tireless efforts and activism. Their legacies will never be forgotten.”
– Marshall Mazagwu Jr
“We are all the benefactors of the unrelenting quest for civil rights that Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Congressman John Lewis dedicated their lives to. The legacies they leave behind will be embedded in history forever, and we will honor the work they’ve done by continuing to fight for the civil rights of all people”
– Taisia Grissom
“Congressman John Lewis, Rev. CT Vivian and Dr. Joseph Lowery were men of great faith. The looked at the things unseen and saw that one day, all men would be free. It was a blessing to have these men among us, may they rest in peace as the touch passes to others.”
– Edna Sims, Founder/Owner, ESP Public Relations
“It’s often said that, ““The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Thank God, they found out why and walked in that purpose! They walked in their purpose during a time where their lives could be cut short for the simplest of things. Yet, they stood tall, raised their voices, stood their ground and withstood the blows of injustice, fear and hatred so that we could have the freedoms and rights that are deserved of all human beings. Let us all remember Rev. Vivian, Dr. Lowery, and Congressman John Lewis as we cast our votes, as we raise our voices in protest and as we walk in our own God-given purpose.”
– Latoya Henry
Bridge Philanthropic Consulting (BPC) is the nation’s largest and only full-service African American Owned fundraising, communications, marketing and community outreach firm servicing more than $300MM in campaigns currently, and empowering communities of color through philanthropic social justice work.
“When black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right.” – Joseph Lowery
Former Co-Founder/President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Rev. Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery, transitioned on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 10pm at the age of 98. He was one of the last remaining leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. Lowery has assumed and executed a broad and diverse series of roles over the span of his eight decades: leader, pastor/preacher, servant, father, husband, freedom fighter and advocate. FOX 5 Atlanta pays tribute to Lowery HERE.
In 1997,he was dubbed the ‘Dean of the Civil Rights Movement’ upon receipt of the NAACP’s Lifetime Achievement Award. On January 20, 2009, in his inimitable style; Dr. Lowery delivered the Benediction on the occasion of President Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. On August 12, 2009 when President Barack Obama awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor: The Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the nonviolent struggle for the causes of justice, human rights, economic equality, voting rights, peace and human dignity.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama, on October 6th, 1921, Rev. Dr. Lowery’s legacy of service and struggle is long and rich. His genesis as a Civil Rights advocate dates to the early 1950s where, in Mobile, Alabama he headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association; the organization which led the movement to desegregate buses and public accommodations. In 1957, with friend and colleague, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. he was a Co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), where served in an array of leadership positions, including: Vice President (1957-67); Chairman of the Board (1967-77); and as President and Chief Executive Officer from (1977-1998).
In 1961, he was one of four Alabama pastors whose property was seized by the Alabama Courts in an historic, precedent setting libel suit, Sullivan v. NY Times, Abernathy, Lowery, Shuttlesworth, & Seay, because of their civil rights work.The United States Supreme Court vindicated the ministers in a landmark ruling which remains an important element in the protections afforded the free speech rights of the press, and of citizens advocating and protesting for justice and societal change.
In March of 1965, he was chosen by Dr. King to chair the Delegation delivering the demands of the Selma-to-Montgomery March George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama. As the world witnessed, Wallace ordered the marchers beaten in the incident that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday”, which ultimately led to enactment of the Voting Rights Act.
Throughout his career, Rev. Dr. Lowery’s commitment to human rights and social justice exists on a global scale. His work resulted in the desegregation of Nashville, Tennessee schools, presenting Nelson Mandela with the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award following his release from prison in 1990, leading a peace delegation to Lebanon and nations in Central America to seek justice by nonviolent means, and securing millions of dollars in contracts for minority businesses in the Southern region of the United States.
His efforts also emphasize the need to uplift and empower historically disenfranchised communities. Ranging from supporting the families affected by the Atlanta “Missing and Murdered Children Crisis” through setting up funds with Citizen Trust Bank, demanding election reform and economic justice as Convener of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda (GCPA), to advocating for the rights of Black farmers discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture – Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery remains committed to cultivating the Beloved Community and reminds us to “turn TO each other not ON each other!” Ebony Magazine, in recognizing Rev. Dr. Lowery as one of the nation’s “15 Greatest BlackPreachers,” described him as the “consummate voice of biblical social relevancy, a focused prophetic voice, speaking truth to power,” and his strong dedication to faith and inclusion is evident in all of his work.
•Joseph Lowery had 5 children from 2 separate marriages.
Official Statement from The Family of Reverend Doctor Joseph E. Lowery
Our entire family is humbled and blessed by the overwhelming outpouring of love and support that has come from around the globe. We thank you for loving our father, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, and for your continuous prayers during this time.
In lieu of flowers, cards or food, donations may be made to The Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights. Dr. Lowery’s life was driven by a sense of obligation to our global community and desire to champion love over hate; inclusion over exclusion. The Lowery Institute was founded in 2002 to further Dr. Lowery’s legacy of promoting non-violent advocacy among future generations.
Donations can be sent to The Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute, P.O. Box 92801, Atlanta, GA 30314, or made on-line by clicking here.
Aligning with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and social distancing, plans are underway for a private family service. A public memorial will be held in late summer or early fall.
With all Americans bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), today called on President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress to make sure all Americans benefit from the nearly $1 trillion that will be spent to restore the health of citizens and the economy.
“I want to weigh in on behalf of regular people,” said Dr. Steele, who currently heads the civil rights organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We have seen this socialist bailout of corporate America before. As the Trump Administration and Congress prepare to help some corporations, hand out new contracts and create new jobs to address this pandemic, we must ensure that billions ends up in the hands of the people who have been historically left behind. Poor people, black and brown people, must be recipients of these gifts of generosity that normally go to corporations.”
President Trump has said efforts are underway to financially assist corporations that have been hit hard by Convid-19, including the travel and cargo industries. He has announced plans to assist small businesses, but there are no specifics how those disbursements will be handled, and he has announced plans to give all families at least $2,400 to help them through the crisis.
“When it comes to bearing the weight, it is not fair that the corporations get the support when the rest of us starve,” Dr. Steele said. “We saw our government bail out the banks during the housing collapse. We also bailed out the auto industry and Wall Street. Those industries recovered, but we didn’t. Most black and brown people lost their homes. We lost our wealth. Nearly 75 percent of poor people are living from check to check. Many of us have no health insurance. We can’t afford to take a day off work.”
Dr. Steele said the SCLC, which has focused on the plight of the poor and the voiceless since the days of Dr. King, has received calls for individuals and groups who are concerned about how individuals with no jobs and insurance will fair during this pandemic and recover after the crisis is over.
“They are asking, ‘Where are our leaders,’” Dr. Steele said. “They are not seeing them standing up to make sure the real money will flow down to the people most impacted. That is why the SCLC is taking a stand. We must fight to make sure our government does not repeat what has happened in the past. We need more than $1,200 to catch up in America. We will not be left behind this time.”
ABOUT THE SCLC:
Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a now an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries. For additional information about the SCLC, visit www.nationalsclc.org.
Issues Impacting African Americans Deserve More Focus Than Appearing Briefly for Photo Opportunities, SCLC President and CEO Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. Says
With Super Tuesday just a few days away, and capturing the black vote in the 015 jurisdictions crucial to winning the coveted seat, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is extending an invitation for the Democratic presidential candidates to participate in the historic 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.
The reenactment of the march, which was originally led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the SCLC’s co-founders and its first president, begins at 8am on Monday at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and concludes on Friday on the steps of the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery.
Monday’s march follows the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” which occurred on March 7, 1965 when more than 500 demonstrators, participating in a right to vote march, were met with violence by state troopers and others after they crossed the bridge. The bridge crossing is commemorated every year, but every five years the SCLC organizes the long walk from the bridge to Montgomery. At the end of the march, civil rights leaders, politicians and other influencers give speeches about freedom and equality and other important public policy issues.
“We are extending this invitation for the presidential candidates to join us on Monday morning, because this historical event is about more than a photo opportunity on Sunday,” Dr. Steele said.“ The real education begins on Monday when we discuss during march to Montgomery the concerns about poor people, the voiceless and those who are still trying to reach the mountaintop.”
Dr. Steele, fresh off of a presidential candidates and public policy forum in Columbia, S.C., said there are several key issues that the organization wants the presidential candidates to address, including the restoration of the Voting Right Act, jobs, healthcare, education, economic development in black communities, funding for historically black colleges and universities and reparations, which will provide compensation to the descendants of slaves whose forced free labor helped to develop the United States as the world’s leading economy.
“We as African Americans have never been free in this country,” Dr. Steele said. “Everyone has had access to capital. Everybody has been accepted in society, but we as ex slaves and African Americans have never been given a hand up. It is always a hand down.”
Dr. Steele said the march is a teachable moment for those who believe the masses of African Americans are in a much better place economically following the eight-year reign of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, and as they witness the successes of a few blacks such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Jay-Z. The reality, Dr. Steele said, is that some blacks are in a worse place economically than blacks were in 1965 and even during the Jim Crow era.
“During the housing collapse, we lost 60 percent of black wealth,” Dr. Steele said. “The wealth creation was in our homes. We once had dozens of black banks, but now we only have 17. In five years, some experts predict we will not have any. In the next 20 to 30 years, it is predicted that black wealth will be eradicated. There is a conspiracy of keeping capital away from black folks. They talk about the stock market. Well, our people don’t have jobs so what do they care about the stock market?”
While the SCLC does not endorse candidates, Dr. Steele said some candidates are identifying with the SCLC’s mission and goals. When candidates talk about restoring the Voting Rights Act to its original intent, and when one speaks about reparations, jobs, and funding for HCBUs, then that opens the door for all candidates to address those issues.
“When we hear them talk about these issues, they give us hope,” Dr. Steele says. “If they address those issues, they will lift up poor people, and if they lift poor people, remove racism and provide black people with access to capital, then we are getting closer to realizing the dream.”
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 journalists arrived bright and early at the Memphis International Airport and were met by Geiger & Associate staff, and were shortly off to lunch. Lunch was held at The Beauty Shop, which is a hip spot located at the center of the Cooper-Young Entertainment District. The name of the restaurant is the theme. 1940’s beauty dryers are scattered around the salon. Along with this old-fashioned décor, the trendy restaurant also serves amazing, American cuisine. Grilled peaches with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar, herb-crusted trout, cheese grits, and succotash are just a few of the delicious bites they have. After breakfast, the groups split for afternoon activities. The journalists were able to choose between three different activities.
First day activities include taking a tour of Graceland – Home of Elvis Presley, visiting Cooper-Young Entertainment District and Overton Square, and taking a tour of the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Dinner was held at Blues City Café, located on Beale Street. Their ribs have been featured on many food channels and in Bon Appetit’s barbeque issue. Then after, having the options to go out for the night.
Beale street is known for its music, and soul so it’s no doubt that was a must-see on this trip.
This trip was full of opportunity. Tennessee has so much culture, soul, and influence that it’s a no brainer why people fall in love with it. Although the trip mainly focused on food and sight-seeing, some history was thrown in there as well. Tours of the National Civil Rights Museum were given. The museum was established in 1991 and is located at the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. This museum offered the visitors a full immersion experience through the American civil rights movement.
When exploring Tennessee, it’s hard to not eat everything that comes into view. Luckily on this trip, it offered multiple foods. This trip was all about the food and travel destinations, so without a doubt, there was going to be some great food options. Food varied from fried chicken sandwiches to impossible burgers which are made from plant-based meats and even deep-fried oysters.
What’s a good trip, without good alcohol? Wine tasting, beer tasting, any alcohol tasting you can think of, Tennessee has it. Century Farm Winery is a family-owned and operated winery that is located right on a working farm. Journalists were able to tour the winery and enjoy a selection of handcrafted and award-winning wines. The wine wasn’t the only alcohol being tasted, good olé’ moonshine was available for taste as well. Samuel T. Bryant Distillery was a hot stop on this tour as well. Just like with the Winery, the journalist was able to have a tasting and tour at the Distillery. Samuel T Bryant Distillery tries its hardest to use locally grown produce in their products. The berries in the Blueberry Moonshine and the Blackberry Moonshine come from local farms and the corn they use comes from Madison County farms. They even use local Sorghum Molasses to make a very unique rum product.
The Memphis and West Tennessee Media Tour was filled with so much culture, inspiration, passion, and warmth. Journalists were able to put their creative skills to the test; write and visit places they’ve never been before. When traveling it’s important to try new things and always think outside the box. New foods, drinks, experiences, and great times are what make a trip unforgettable.
Memphis is definitely a place that needs to be on everyone’s travel list. It’s full of so much culture, experiences and food. Memphis is the definition of an affordable visit, foodie town with tons of music history.
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