Annual 'Drum Major' Awards Dinner Recognizing First Lady, Activists


Later this week, on April 4, SCLC/WOMEN, Inc.'s 35th annual 'Drum Major for Justice' awards dinner will recognize and honor three stalwart women who have applied determination and grit for successful careers, as well as worked toward successful African-American family units: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, activist Sybrina Fulton and, posthumously, Evelyn Gibson Lowery, the founder and board chair of SCLC/WOMEN, Inc., respectively.

On Friday, April 4—the 46th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination—the aforementioned honorees will be feted for their work towards social justice, equality and human rights for all mankind, thereby, espousing the work and objectives of Dr. King, during the civil rights organization's dinner gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, at 265 Peachtree St., NE, downtown Atlanta, beginning at 6pm. Since 1980, the annual 'Drum Major For Justice' awards dinner has recognized individuals and organizations of various professions who make outstanding contributions to the "beloved community" while promoting and advancing social justice and equality for all. "Just say that I was a 'drum major' for justice and peace," Dr. King prophetically stated one year prior to his 1968 assassination. As creator of the 'Drum Major' awards dinner, Mrs. Lowery, the past three decades, committed her life and work to recognize the many persons who have worked to emulate Dr. King's dream, as well as led SCLC/WOMEN, Inc., founded in October, 1979, to advance and champion the rights of women and young ladies and girls within the African-American family unit, and families, in general, who may be disenfranchised. (Mrs. Lowery, after suffering a stroke, passed suddenly last September.) Additionally, First Lady Michelle Obama, at 50, is an attorney by profession—but is the other half of the union with President Barack Obama, along with mother of Sasha and Malia. Mrs. Obama presently highlights good health and physical education for teens and youth. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Sanford, Fla. teen Trayvon Martin, is the founder and president of The Trayvon Martin Foundation, named for her son who was murdered in February, 2012, following a senseless act of violence, aggravated by the controversial 'Stand Your Ground' law. "It is our distinct honor to acknowledge the many years of dedication Mrs. Lowery provided to SCLC/WOMEN, Inc.," indicated Scarlett Pressley-Brown, interim executive director and board chair of SCLC/WOMEN, Inc. "Also, with Mrs. Lowery, we are excited to be able to honor First Lady Michelle Obama, who has, with style and grace, represented our country and communities—and our race—with dignity and respect." Additionally, recognizing Mrs. Lowery for her decades of activism is appropriate and fitting, Ms. Pressley-Brown said, in conjunction with honoring Mrs. Obama and Ms. Fulton, thereby, emphasizing the significance of each woman's exemplary work accentuated by passion, commitment and conviction.

The 2014 Drum Major for Justice awards dinner co-chairs are former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Charmaine Ward, Georgia Pacific Corp.'s director of Community Affairs. Furthermore, Mrs. Lowery will herself be commemorated with a special closing musical tribute by three women who, over the years, have witnessed and experienced Mrs. Lowery's love and admiration from their work as local television news anchors: Fox 5's Lisa Rayam, 11 Alive's Karyn Greer and Monica (Kaufman) Pearson, the retired news anchor of WSB-TV. Also, a retrospective will be presented of Mrs. Lowery and SCLC/WOMEN's early years by respective actresses Dawnn Lewis, Jasmine Guy and Charnele Brown, all co-stars of NBC-TV's 1990's sitcom "A Different World". Actor Mykelti Williamson and local attorney Ms. Mo Ivory, formerly of V-103 Radio, will be master and mistress of ceremonies. Previous recipients of the Drum Major for Justice awards, for persons making distinctive contributions toward social justice via business, entertainment and humanitarian efforts, include media mogul/OWN founder Oprah Winfrey, former U.N. Ambassador-Atlanta Mayor-1960s SCLC director Andrew Young, civil rights activist-U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of National Action Network; CNN news anchor Don Lemon, television and Broadway actress Phylicia Rashad, former Morehouse College President Dr. Robert Franklin, former Ga. state Director of USDA Rural Development Shirley Sherrod, and the first Black all-female flight crew (Captain Rachelle Jones, First Officer Stephanie Grant and flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers), among many other notables the past 35 years.

To reserve your seat(s), as well as for more information on the dinner and for tickets and table prices, please call SCLC/WOMEN, Inc.'s national office at (404) 584-0303.

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Buckhead Cascade Links Receive Award

The Buckhead Cascade City Chapter recently received the prestigious “Volunteer Team of the Year” Award from the Metro Atlanta Boys & Girls Club.

Buckhead Cascade supports the W.W. Woolfolk Boys & Girls Club year round by providing volunteers and resources for events such as the Kiwanis Kids Cultural Challenge and Historic Black Colleges and Universities Week. The chapter also organizes a weekly hip hop abs class, a cooking and gardening club, a book club and the members also tutor and mentor the youth on a weekly basis.

Over the last 5 years, chapter members have donated more than 5,000 volunteer hours to the club. In the fall of 2013, the chapter donated $15,000 to support the club’s efforts to renovate the playground and install a new fence.

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Ga. State Senato Receives An “Arnie”

ATLANTA—Sen. Vincent Fort (D- Atlanta) received Creative Loafing’s 2014 Arnie Award for continually putting the needs of his constituents ahead of partisan politics. They noted his staunch backing of progressive proposals while praising his commitment to civil disobedience, particularly concerning the Moral Monday Movement and his advocacy for the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia.

“I would like to thank Creative Loafing for this distinguished honor,” said Sen. Fort. “Each year, I come to the Gold Dome with my constituents and their concerns at the forefront of my thoughts, and I appreciate this publication’s acknowledgement of my public service. I will continue to fight for the expansion of Medicaid so that we insure the uninsured while simultaneously bringing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue to Georgia.”

The magazine created the awards in honor of “Ellis Arnall, Georgia’s last truly progressive governor.” Sen. Fort, first elected to the State Senate in 1996, has long been known for his commitment grass roots issues and advocacy organizations that promote progressive ideals and policies.

For more information on the 2014 Arnie Awards, please visit:

Sen. Vincent Fort is the Senate Minority Whip and represents the 39th Senate District which includes Fulton County. He may be reached by phone at 404.287.7116 or by email at

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