And the beat of the drum continues
By Natasha Dowdy Gordon
Last week the world said a heartfelt farewell to a Civil Rights icon. Mrs. Evelyn Lowey was the devoted, and loving wife of the Rev. Joseph Lowery. Early on in the Civil Rights Movement, Mrs. Lowery decided that she would never be the woman that would be satisfied just taking a step back, and riding off of the notoriety, and the coattail of her husband, for she understood that every human being, no matter the gender has a role to play in making the world a better place.
Cultivating a perfect balance between her roles as an activist, wife, and mother, those closest to her remember just how serious she took her obligations. “It is so funny to think about it now, but no matter what was going on, if a meeting was running too long, she would start to reach for her pocketbook, and she would head for the door, while saying that she had to go home, because she had to make sure that her baby (Dr. Lowery) had something to eat.”, said Dewey McClain. Dewey is the Representative elect for the state of Georgia’s District 100, and the current president of the North Atlanta, Georgia Labor Council. He is also a former Atlanta Falcon.
Mrs. Lowery and her husband were partners in everything that they did for the entire 70 years of their marriage, and just like her husband, she moved mountains, and toiled the soil that the seeds of equality and justice could be planted. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) has roots that can be traced all the way back to the Montgomery, Al. bus boycott, which was organized to help push for the abolishment of segregation in the south during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Mrs. Lowery, picking up the baton from her husband, who once served as the president of the SCLC, founded SCLC Women Inc., the sister organization to the SCLC, in 1979. Mrs. Lowery also created a girls to women mentoring program called Bridging the Gap.
Mrs. Lowery was still very active in her pursuit for justice, women’s rights, and economic equality right up until her death. She and her husband played major roles in the first March on Washington, and Mrs. Lowery was able to participate in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this past August. Mrs. Lowery’s appearance at the annual Drum Major for Justice Awards, was sadly her last public appearance. Ms. Lowery created the awards, and began organizing an annual golf tournament for the
With everything that that Mrs. Lowery has been able to accomplish in her life is considered, there are far too many things to list. The legacy that she left the world is her passion to make it a better place for all of humanity. As we continue to lose warriors like Ms. Lowery, Rev. James Orange, and far too many others to list, it is difficult for many people to imagine where the country is headed. Thanks to the dedication of Mrs. Lowery, and everyone else that knocked down barriers during one of the darkest periods in American history, there are some new “Drum Majors” marching across the horizon, here are a few of the new gladiators that are devoted to positive change, and equality for all.
The Dream Defenders
Anyone doubting the power of silent, non-violent protests, and the willingness of young people to engage in the process of righting so many of the wrongs that they see happening in their communities, has obviously never heard of the Dream Defenders. This group of technologically savvy teens and young adults occupied the Florida State Capitol for an astounding 31 days to fight for the passage of Trayvon’s Law, following the tragic of shooting and death of Trayvon Martin by Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman. The group used the power of social media to garner support for their cause, and when Gov. Rick Scott refused their request for him to hold a special legislative session to address the Stand Your Grown Law, members of the group started sleeping right outside of his office. The governor did eventually agree to sit down with members of the Dream Defenders, and after an agreement made between the group’s members, and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford to hold a hearing on Stand Your Ground, the group ended their occupation of Florida’s Capital.
Organizers and Participants of the Moral Monday Protests
Moral Monday protests were organized to oppose the passage of several laws in the state of North Carolina which suppressed the rights of voters, cut social programs, changed the tax structure, repealed the state’s Racial Justice Act, cut funds to public education, and placed massive restrictions on abortion access. The peaceful and non-violent protests have been taking place every Monday since April of 2013.
Darrick Jackson, Mayor of Timmonsville, South Carolina
When Mayor Darrick Jackson took his oath of office he vowed to challenge the establishment in his state, and the “Good Old Boy” system of politics that had been sewing the seeds of corruption and inequality in his town for decades. When the citizens in the town of Timmonsville elected Jackson, they never in their wildest dreams imagined that he would sue South Carolina’s Gov. Mark Sanford over his decision to take money that was budgeted for rural water, sewer, and infrastructure projects, and allocate it to provide funding for the South Carolina State Budget and Control Board. Not only did Jackson sue the Governor, he won, demonstrating to the people in his state, that the little guy can actually win. “I just believe that when you are in governing position, you have to do everything in your power to make sure that your constituency is taken care of. I am here to serve the people of Timmonsville, and to make sure that they are afforded everything that they are supposed to have.”, Jackson said.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis stepped onto the national scene during her 13 hour filibuster to stop a bill that would have all but completely closed every abortion clinic in the state of Texas. Davis was not allowed a break during her 13 hour battle that she ultimately ended up winning. Davis and her stand for the rights of women gained so much attention that there were live wire feeds of the event set up so that people all over the country could watch her beat down the legislation that would have stifled the rights of women in the state of Texas, and set a huge precedent for other states to follow. Davis raised 1 million dollars immediately following her epic filibuster, and recently announced her candidacy for the governorship.