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John Lewis illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

HHF × JOHN LEWIS

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) today announced that the late U.S. Representative and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis will be honored with a special Recognition as an Ally for his work in fighting for justice and equality for all communities including Latinos through a tribute musical performance during the October 6th PBS broadcast of the 33rd Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards.

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is proud to recognize the legacy of our compadre John Lewis, a true champion of civil rights for all our communities,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President & CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “The Congressman was a passionate friend and champion of the Latino community through his courage, morality, decency, fire, action and collaboration for justice and human rights. He was ready to speak – no, shout – on behalf of the voiceless or the ignored including the immigrant community. The Congressman indefatigably supported Latinos by fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, denouncing family separations, and trying to ensure our right to vote. The Congressman will continue to serve as an inspiration to anyone who is in la lucha for justice and how our communities can make an even bigger impact when we work together.”

The Hispanic Heritage Awards are among the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos and are considered “America’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration” after being established in 1988 to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in America by the White House.  Linda Ronstadt (Legend), Bad Bunny (Vision), Selena Gomez (Arts), Jessica Alba (Business), and America’s essential farmworkers (Heroes) will be awarded.

“The Congressional Black Caucus is known as the ‘Conscience of the Congress’ but John Lewis was known as the conscience of our caucus,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA). “One of the greatest honors of serving in Congress was that I had the possibility of serving with him. His legacy to our country is that he devoted his life fighting racism and injustice wherever he confronted it, from boycotts, sit-ins, to protests in the streets, to championing bold, progressive policies in Congress including the Voting Rights Act, and being a moral compass. Mr. Lewis also led the effort to build the African American History Museum and when we visit the museum, this is another opportunity for us to always remember him and what he stood for. Now that he is no longer with us, we have to live up to his legacy and protect the right to vote for all Americans. As we continue to face the challenges due to coronavirus, we must protect our democracy even in the midst of adversity. Most especially in this election.”

John Lewis was an iconic civil rights leader who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his passing on July 17th in 2020.  He was also the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 1963 – 1966.

Mr. Lewis was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He fulfilled many key roles in the civil rights movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. In 1965, Mr. Lewis led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In an incident which became known as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police attacked the marchers, including Mr. Lewis. He was a leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1991 as a Chief Deputy Whip and from 2003 as Senior Chief Deputy Whip. Mr. Lewis received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round, innovative, high-impact, actionable programs focused on education, workforce, leadership and culture.   HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  For more information, visit www.hispanicheritage.org and follow the Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Kaelen Felix illustrates Amtrak for 360 MAGAZINE.

360 Magazine Marches on Washington

By Cassandra Yany × Armon Hayes, Vaughn Lowery

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.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Amtrak story for 360 MAGAZINE

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.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Amtrak story for 360 MAGAZINE

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.”

Kaelen Felix illustrates Amtrak story for 360 MAGAZINE
John Lewis illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

John Lewis Funeral Procession Reaches DC

By Eamonn Burke

Civil rights icon and Democratic John Lewis will lie in state in Washington D.C. following his death on July 17. The funeral procession, which began on Saturday, included the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where a state trooper broke Lewis’ skull during a march, and a stop in Selma. It culminated in the arrival to the U.S Capitol and the ceremony held at 1:30 pm today, and it will continue until Thursday, when he will he laid to rest in Atlanta.

The arrival of the procession prompted many regulations including street closings and prohibited items in the city of Washington D.C.. The ceremony was private, put public viewings were available as well, in addition to crowds around the hearse as it made its way to the Capitol Rotunda. Those who were inside and invited, mostly House and Senate members, sat apart in circles. Speakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remembered the life of Lewis.

“John was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol” said Pelosi. McConnell remembered the “respect and love” that Lewis showed everyone. The speeches were followed by a performance of “Amazing Grace” by Christian singer Wintley Phipps. Finally, Lewis’ son John-Miles-Lewis led the conclusion of the service.

John Lewis was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a powerful civil rights organization, and later became the chairman. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington at which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Racial justice illustration by Mina Tocalini

Racial Justice

The Magnanimity of The Moment

Learning from Our Past in Today’s Fight for Racial Justice

By Jason Green

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many other black bodies have answered Langston Hughes’ prophetic question: “What happens to a dream deferred?” As justified anger and frustration have exploded across communities large and small, I have quietly questioned whether there is room for community building. I thought for a moment that our collective hurt and fatigue might be so great that there simply might not be space for hope and reconciliation. The idea of searching for fellowship felt naïve and insignificant.

Seven years ago, as I sat at the bedside of my then 95-year-old grandmother, she told me how, in 1968, her all-black church merged with two all-white congregations (themselves split generations earlier over the issue of slavery) in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Given the tumultuous backdrop, I was surprised by their decision to join, but I will be forever moved by the intentional community building that has kept their congregation together for more than 50 years. The hardest decision wasn’t the one to come together, it was the decision to stay together.

Last week, on our weekly call, my Grandmother Green reawakened my spirit. “We have to keep working and praying and not give up,” she extolled. “Even if things are not going our way we have to have that faith, and do the work. It was important that they see my face in the choir in 1968. Well, it’s just as important today.” She helped me realize in times like these, we need to be reminded of what is possible and to be vigilant about the hard work required to achieve it.

I’ve spent years chronicling how those three congregations came together in 1968 and how they have persisted, purposefully integrated, for more than 50 years. Below are three lessons I’ve learned from that experience that can inform how we collectively move forward today:

•Establish A Clear Goal

As they stumbled through the early days of the church merger, leadership of each congregation gathered to agree to the goal of coming together. A specific shared outcome gave them something to hold tight to when the path got difficult. As individual groups began working toward their own agenda, it armed the broader coalition with a mission to pull them back to. In this moment, people have begun working in different directions to speak out against and organize in support of racial justice. There is not one way to do the work — in fact, there must be a multitude of strategies, activities, and actors. To be successful, we must define the objective to hold others accountable to if their efforts achieve progress toward that shared goal, not question if their strategies happen to be similar or different to our own.

•Trust Must Be Built

When the churches merged, each harbored fear, skepticism, and animosity. There wasn’t the hugging and hand-holding you’d expect in church. To overcome, they had to be intentional; this started with acknowledging the pain of their history and being deliberate about difficult conversations. No meeting would end if someone still had something to say. Leadership demanded people share their concerns and complaints, though sometimes harsh, and those concerns were addressed. The work that faces us now is deep and structural and must push beyond performance. It will require addressing a history of hurt and creating alliances, with both traditional and non-traditional allies, to meet the magnanimity of the moment. At times, it will require taking the first step, even when you took the first step last time, and recognizing that sometimes, alliances will fray. Work to build trust anyway.

•Be Prepared To Go Alone

For those in the movement, this moment feels like a turning point, and there’s a desire to draw a line in the sand: “If you aren’t with us now, then you are against us.” But the reality is there will be folks who, even in this moment, will not be prepared to take action. Because we know that for something to be truly gained, something must be given up, there will be those who aren’t prepared for what change will mean for them. In 1968, my grandfather disagreed with the proposed church merger. My grandmother, my father, and his brother, decided to merge, despite Grandpa’s objection. We must be prepared to do the work, knowing that it is rooted in righteousness, and that there will be some who are not ready for change, even amongst those whom we love and respect. Move forward anyway, but resist the temptation to draw those terminal lines in the sand. Continue to build bridges for others to come on the journey. My grandfather joined the merged congregation years later. Before he died, he was one of its trustees.

Like the church merger, our democracy is one big social experiment that requires engagement and vigilance if it will ever reach its promise. Elections have consequences, and policy has impact. To see change, we must be active at the federal, state, and local levels to enable leadership that aligns with our values and implements policies that reflect the communities we represent.

But elections cannot eradicate racism, and policy cannot force neighbors to see each other with dignity, value and respect. This moment does not call for an “either or” approach; this must be a “yes and” strategy. And, if we want to eradicate the poison that killed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, and every other individual lost due to racist acts, then in addition to external activation, we must look inward to understand what each of us is prepared to do, give, and change in this moment.

Last week, my grandmother turned 102, and as we discussed plans for her socially distanced drive-by birthday parade, we also talked about the current state of the world. As I expressed frustration regarding the lack of national leadership and exhaustion that this is where we find ourselves, in true Grandma Green fashion, she said, “I hear all that, but what are you gonna do? What are you prepared to do for those who look like you and those who don’t? For those who don’t pray like you? For those who don’t love like you? What are you gonna do to inspire fellowship and build the community that we all want to see?”

I guess I know what to give for her birthday this year. Join me in making change. Across the country. Within our communities. And in ourselves.

Jason Green is a Maryland-based attorney, entrepreneur and filmmaker. Green recently directed Finding Fellowship, a documentary inspired by conversations with his grandmother which focuses on the unlikely merger of three racially segregated churches in 1968. Green is the co-founder of SkillSmart, Inc., a workforce development company that creates transparent paths to economic prosperity. A current Commissioner for the Montgomery County Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation, Green also previously served as Associate White House Counsel to President Barack Obama.

Justice illustration

Supreme Court Reform

Police violence against blacks won’t end until the U.S. Supreme Court adopts a substantially different approach to the issue, says a Virginia Tech expert on race and social policy. “The bottom line is that better or different police training will not end this violence because it does nothing to limit the police’s power to do violence,” said Wornie Reed. “Police have a license to kill anyone, and they use it disproportionately on black people.” Reed says law enforcement received this “license” in the Graham v. Conner Supreme Court decision in 1989, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The Graham decision in 1989 interpreted the Fourth Amendment to protect police officers, not black people, Reed said. “It in effect changed the view of the police use of force from that of an individual encountering a state action that could potentially be a violation of the person’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment to that of the police officer’s right, the right to act—and use force–if they feel it is reasonable,” says Reed. “If the intended situation is to place the police officer’s life equal to that of the civilian, we need to make these rules clear and havepolice practices conform. If the intent is to value the police officer’s life as more significant, we need to debate this issue in public and the courts. A large proportion of the citizenry might object to that orientation as a cultural practice.” Professor Wornie Reed, Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson and other local leaders and officials will talk about these issues at a news conference at noon on Tuesday, June 2, at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Christiansburg, Virginia.

About Wornie Reed

Wornie Reed is the director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center and a professor of Africana Studies and sociology in Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. His areas of expertise include race, ethnic health disparities, social policy and criminal justice. Reed also has several connections to the civil rights movement: he marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and saw over 30 of his speeches; he attended King’s funeral in Atlanta and marched in Memphis; he participated in the Poor People’s’ Campaign, the 1963 March on Washington and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; He also participated with the Olympic Committee for Human Rights which sponsored the Black Power salute boycott.

Reed’s expertise has been featured in TIME, HuffPost, WSLS (Virginia CBS affiliate), WVTF(Virginia NPR affiliate), Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, and the Philadelphia Tribune, to name a few.

SCLC Calls for Additional Stimulus Money

On the 52nd Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s. Assassination, His Call for Economic Equality for All is Being Revived

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Calls for Permanent Monthly Financial Subsidy for The Poor, Billions for Black-Owned Businesses and Reparations for Descendants of Slaves.

In Commemorating the 52nd Anniversary of the Assassination of its co-founder and first leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), has called on the U.S. Government to set aside $250 billion for black-owned businesses.

The civil rights organization also called on Congress, which recently approved a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package to provide emergency aid to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, to permanently extend monthly payments to the poor and to pay reparations for descendants of slaves. The coronavirus crisis, SCLC officials say, has highlighted the need for America to right its wrongs when it comes to income inequality, which is linked to disparities in education, health care, housing and access to capital. These life essentials are key components of wealth creation.

“We will circulate a petition that will be delivered to Congress asking for $250 billion for black-owned businesses,” said Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president, and CEO of the SCLC. “The administration is turning the stimulus money over to banks, but banks are the main reason black Americans can’t get access to wealth and why most black Americans have lost their savings. Black America lost its wealth when the housing market collapsed, and banks played a major role in that collapse.”

Dr. Steele said, “it’s time for restoration.” “The Covid-19 stimulus package can assist black-owned businesses, especially black-owned banks, and our historically black colleges and universities,” he added. “If we get our banks, businesses, and institutions healthy, our communities will recover, and we will achieve Dr. King’s dream for racial and economic equality.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968 while in the city advocating for fair wages for striking sanitation workers. Before Dr. King was killed at the age of 39, he had called for the U.S. government to address the injustices in the American economic system which provided government funding to the rich and the poor, but referred to the aid by different names. For the poor, it is called welfare. For the
rich, it is called subsidies. To end economic exploitation, Dr. King called for America to redistribute its wealth. He pushed for a guaranteed subsidy for the poor, saying a rich nation like the U.S. should not have citizens living in poverty.

“The U.S. Government response to the Coronavirus is a start, but the virus has made it clear that we are all tied to our nation’s survival and revival,” Dr. Steele said. “The only way for America to move forward as a stronger nation is for Congress to act on additional financial measures to ensure that poor and working-class families have the financial means to prosper. We need a permanent stimulus package, not a temporary one that is a band-aid approach to our financial problems. The $1200 check won’t cut it for poor folks. You can’t pay your bills and get out of this slump with that check.”

Dr. King believed in self-help, but he also believed in the government partnering with citizens to help them get on track economically, Dr. Steele said.

“The $1200 that the current administration is talking about giving to citizens is a slap in the face,” Dr. Steele said. “That is not a salary for folks who have lost their jobs. The money the government is giving is just pocket change. Poor folks need checks until they reach the next rung of the economic ladder.”

And descendants of slaves, Dr. Steele added, need reparations, because the remnants of that era still exist today where blacks face racism in every arena in society. Reparations can address some of the past injustices, persistent disparities and redistribute some of the wealth.

“Dr. King was a visionary and global leader,” Dr. Steele said. “He called for the government to take care of the people 52 years ago. It is taking the Coronavirus for us to see how we are all connected and linked to each other’s survival. And we see this not only in America but around the world. Dr. King’s vision was not destroyed. It was delayed, but the moment to fulfill that vision is in our hands. The SCLC is going to keep the issues and his dream front and center.”

JOSEPH LOWERY, BARACK OBAMA, MEDAL OF FREEDOM, VAUGHN LOWERY, 360 MAGAZINE

REMEMBERING JOSEPH LOWERY

“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 Black Preachers,” 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.

•Most notable speech can be watched HERE.

Remarks at Coretta Scott King’s funeral.

•His legacy continues with the Lowery Institute.

•According to CNN Lowery was a founder of the SCLC.

BBC remembers Lowery.

Mentioned in The Guardian.

Civil Rights Icon Dies at 98 – NBC News.

•As seen on NPR.

Essence Magazine Instagram Post.

The Shade Room Instagram Post.

Tyler Perry Remembers.

Jamie Foxx Commemorates.

Barack Obama Pays Respect.

OWN Network Tribute

Lowery was laid to rest on Saturday, April 4th which is the same day MLK was assassinated.

Joe Biden Acknowledges.

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.

Thank you,

The Lowery Family

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

SCLC × 50-Mile March

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Is Inviting the Presidential Candidates to Participate in the 50-mile March from Selma to Montgomery

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.”

SambaFunk! Perform at Senator Kamala Harris for President 2020 Campaign Rally

Bay Area artscollective SambaFunk! performed Sunday, January 27th as part of the Senator Kamala Harris for President 2020 Campaign Rally in Oakland.

Theo Aytchan Williams, Samba Funk! Artistic Director said, “We are beyond honored to have been invited to participate in this historic moment in time by performing at the Senator Harris for President Campaign Rally.”

The group recently released a new version of the classic “Lift Every Voice & Sing” to coincide with Black History Month in February and to celebrate the song’s 120th Anniversary.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” often referred to as the “Black National Anthem”, was originally written as a poem in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson to be recited by 500 students at the Stranton School in Jacksonville, Florida as a welcoming poem to educator Booker T. Washington in commemorate of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It was later put to music by John Rosamond Johnson and adopted as the Black National Anthem by the NAACP.

The SambaFunk! version of “Lift Every Voice & Sing” comes on the 120th anniversary of the song being written in hopes that the new release will shine a light on the Black Experience and ignite a sense of pride among Black and oppressed people worldwide. Historically music often plays a significant role in bringing people together for positive change. The group hopes this song evokes conversations between Americans of all backgrounds.

Williams said, “2019 is the perfect time for the message of this monumental work to be heard around the world to help raise our collective consciousness and present a living example of how music can play a significant role in unification.”

Many are already celebrating the song and its goodwill message including several NBA teams who will be performing the song as part of their Black History Month presentations.

Samba Funk! will also be seen in the EPIX documentary series, Elvis Goes There on February 11th with host film critic Elvis Mitchell, performing “Lift Every Voice & Sing”.

Mastered in the world-renowned Bernie Grundman studio in Hollywood, the song was released Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, January 20th and is available wherever music is sold and streamed.

To learn more about Samba Funk! and listen to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, visit the website at sambafunk.com.