Human Rights/Women's Advocate Succumbs
BY DAVID STOKES
After suffering a massive stroke and its debilitating effects for over a week, Mrs. Evelyn Gibson Lowery, wife of civil rights leader Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, and founder and board chair of SCLC/WOMEN (Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now), Inc., died last week in her southwest Atlanta home upon leaving a local hospital after doctors asserted there was nothing more medically that could be done for her. In a statement from the Lowery family, Rev. Lowery indicated, "My beloved Evelyn was a special woman whose life was committed to service, especially around issues of empowering women. She was a wonderful mother and wife, and I thank God that she didn't suffer any pain, and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidante and my best friend for close to 70 years." He continued, "I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God. My entire family has been overwhelmed by the continuous outpourings of love, support and prayers that have come from across the country, and we ask for your continued prayers over the next few days."
For more than one-half century, Mrs. Lowery assisted in advancing the cause of women and the African-American family unit, in particular, as well as mankind, in general, alongside her husband within the civil rights movement's era that began in 1955 Alabama. Throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s, Mrs. Lowery championed the cause and promoted women's rights within the movement, as well as worked alongside her husband with the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Although SCLC/WOMEN, Inc. was formed in 1979, Mrs. Lowery, 16 years later in 1995, led in the rehabilitation of the present SCLC/WOMEN's headquarters where she coordinated various programs and initiatives to benefit women and the family unit, as well as remember stalwart activists who rendered the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of justice and equality within the movement. Mrs. Lowery will forever be remembered as the creator of several signature initiatives, including SCLC/WOMEN's annual "Drum Major for Justice" awards dinner, held every April 4, in commemoration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to recognize individuals of various professions carrying out the objectives of Dr. King of justice, equality and peace. The annual awards dinner was initially presented in 1980. Another annual event was the Evelyn Gibson Lowery African-American Civil Rights Heritage Tour, held every first weekend in March. The Heritage Tour is a weekend junket by students, led by Mrs. Lowery, to learn of various civil rights sites throughout Alabama in which activists held to advance the cause of freedom and justice, as well as acknowledge those activists who rendered their lives which ultimately led to the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As funeral arrangements are pending (at presstime), contributions, in Mrs. Lowery's name, can be sent to SCLC/WOMEN, Inc., 328 Auburn Avenue, NE Atlanta, Ga., 30312, which will assist within the upcoming group's event, Pampering For Peace, the event to support women in local domestic violence shelters. In January 1998, as her husband retired as the longest serving president/CEO of SCLC, Mrs. Lowery remained on guard as SCLC/WOMEN's leader, ready to continue the work "that was left to do. There is much more to be accomplished; so many successes have taken place over the years, yet, so many more are still coming. We must remain on course, stand and work vigilantly, and witness the rewards of our labor for the cause of freedom, justice and peace," Mrs. Lowery said at the time.
Mrs. Lowery, age 88, was the mother of Yvonne, Karen, Cheryl, respectively, as well as a loving grandmother and great-grandmother—and friend to all who supported and worked for the cause of peace, justice and equality.
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Atlanta Mayor Campaigns For Second Term
BY JOHN B. SMITH, JR.
Supporters of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed gathered on Sept. 21 chanting, “Four more years,” in southwest Atlanta, preparing for Atlanta’s upcoming election on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013.
Friends, neighbors, business professionals and city leaders spoke frankly and admirably of Mayor Kasim Reed. Reed’s mother, Sylvia Reed, told of fond memories of her son as he matured from young child to adulthood. Veteran Atlanta City Councilman C. T. Martin introduced Kasim Reed to the podium. Known affectionately as the “dean of the Atlanta City Council,” Martin indicated that Mayor Reed is “the right person at the right time to be our mayor.” “He has all the ingredients of being the greatest mayor that we’ve had.”
Councilman Martin mentioned that Kasim has taken politics to another level, and it was a level that we needed. He has “raised the level of Mayorship for our City of Atlanta…” making Atlanta a political and corporate entity influential at the state, national and international levels.
Martin added that Mayor Reed has put together a sharp and talented team and stellar staff that can produce positive results for our communities and for all of Atlanta.
As Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took the podium, he reminisced about running for his first term as Mayor of Atlanta four years ago. He joked about how few supporters he had. Fast-forward four years, a successful term as a leading mayor in the United States has led to many supporters of all backgrounds and cultures.
Reed stated, “I think you all are here because we made a difference in the life of the city.”
Reed thanked his campaign manager Meredith Lilly who has assisted him in his future victory to a second term as mayor and his senior team and everyone who works with the city. He led the crowd in a brief moment of silence and prayer for Mrs. Evelyn G. Lowery, civil rights activist and founder of SCLC-WOMEN who suffered a stroke on Sept. 18.
Reed rallied that “when we [his administration] inherited the government that is the City of Atlanta, it had 7.4 million dollars in the bank; today it has 126.9 million dollars.”
“When we walked into City Hall, we were furloughing employees, laying employees off. We’ve stopped furloughing employees, laying off employees, and we’ve given employees raises for the first time.”
“I said that I was going to hire 750 police officers and take on violent crime; we did better than that; we’ve hired 800, and crime is the lowest that it’s been.”
Reed points out improvements in Atlanta’s centers for children, indicating that when we took office for his first term two-thirds of all recreation centers in Atlanta were closed and about 100 or so kids per week were being seen at those centers. At this time, every recreation center is open until 7 pm at night and we’re seeing about 1,500 kids per week and 2,500 kids this summer.
When Reed took office, Atlanta’s senior citizens had looked forward to a senior citizens’ ball but had been had been ceased and put aside. Now there are plans for an exquisite Senior Citizens’ Ball with some 4,000 seniors.
Water rates were among the highest in the nation when Reed became mayor, and there might be another flurry of water rate increases coming soon. Reed said, “Because of our relationship with the President of the United States and the EPA, we’ve got the longest extension of the water and sewer consent decree and those four water rate increases are not going to happen.”
“Most things in our city are not perfect, but there is no question things are better because of you,” said Reed, referring to the great citizens of Atlanta and his administration.
Reed explained, “Four years ago, our city had a 1.5 billion dollar underfunded pension which was basically an interest-only loan.” “We were spending 100 million dollars, and none of that was going to cut the principal.” Through working with the city council and city laborers, the City of Atlanta has passed a sweeping reform bill that will save 270 million dollars over ten years and 500 million dollars over thirty years, still allowing each pension earner to receive 100% of their pension.
Reed also expressed his sincere support of Atlanta City Councilmen C. T. Martin (District 10), H. Lamar Willis (Post 3 At-Large), and Aaron Watson (Post 3 At-Large), all of which will be on the upcoming ballot on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.
Reed was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives [52nd District] from January 1999 to 2003 and represented the 35th District in the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2009. After serving as campaign manager for Shirley Franklin's successful Atlanta mayoral campaign in 2001, he ran for the position in 2009. He won the runoff election on December 1, 2009. One of the youngest modern-day Mayors that Atlanta has ever had, Reed (now, age 44) became the 59th mayor of Atlanta at age 40 and was inaugurated on January 4, 2010.
Reed graduated from Fulton County's Utoy Springs Elementary School and Westlake High School. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1991 with a degree in political science. While in college, he distinguished himself as quite the leader. Reed earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1991 from Howard University. He had been an intern for United States Congressman Joseph Patrick (Joe) Kennedy II. He then earned his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 1995. After graduation from law school, Reed joined the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP and later became a partner at Holland & Knight LLP, an international law firm with offices in Atlanta. In 2002, Reed was appointed the youngest general Trustee for Howard University and continues to serve on that board.
Mayor Reed’s civic leadership and service have been nationally recognized in publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Ebony, and Black Enterprise. He was selected as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “40 under 40 Rising Stars” in 2001, one of “10 Outstanding Atlantans” in Outstanding Atlanta, a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2000, and a board member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund.