April 2020 Newsletter

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April Newsletter

Volume 2.8
March 31, 2020

Hello Everyone,

In this newsletter, I extend special good wishes to all subscribers and the full network of your family, friends, and colleagues.  We must all generate as much positive energy as we can with the hope and the expectation that we will get successfully beyond this crisis and be able to re-start our lives and our work safely in the actual presence of others.

Please take care of yourselves!

Jackie Royster
CEO, Communities Who Know, Inc. ™
A Special Tribute
Photo Credit: Ric Fields, Associated Press
 
Giants Among Us
 
            We have lost another giant: Reverend Joseph Echols Lowery. Reverend Lowery was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on October 6, 1921. He attended Knoxville College and Alabama A&M University before earning a degree from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. On April 5, 1948, he married his life partner, Evelyn Gibson (who died on September 26, 2013, having served by her husband’s side as the head of SCLC women). This team became the parents to three daughters, Yvonne, Karen, and Cheryl. From an earlier marriage to Agnes Moore, Reverend Lowery also had two sons, Joseph Jr. and LeRoy III, named for Reverend Lowery’s father. 
 
            Despite his original interest in being a lawyer, ultimately Reverend Lowery chose religion instead, following in the tradition of his grandfather, Reverend Green Echols, who was the first African American pastor of Lakeside Methodist Church in Huntsville.  He was encouraged also in this choice by his father-in-law, Reverend Harry B. Gibson, Sr. In preparation for his service as a minister, Reverend Lowery attended Payne Theological Seminary, Wayne State University, and Garrett Theological Seminary, and he earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from the Chicago Ecumenical Institute. After a series of ministerial appointments, Reverend Lowery became pastor of the Warren Street Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama, in 1953, where he became a member of the ministerial circle, which included his comrades-in-arms Reverend Martin L. King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy. Members of this circle, along with other civil rights activists became the central strategists and leaders of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. Reverend Lowery became a steadfast SCLC leader: becoming Chairman of the Board in 1967 and serving as President of the organization in 1977. Over the course of his SCLC activism, Reverend Lowery led critical SCLC offices in several cities, led and participated in innumerable protests, and was responsible for a variety of other SCLC activities. He built a stellar reputation locally, nationally, and internationally as a dedicated activist and leader for civil rights and social justice, and after forty years of dedicated service, he retired as SCLC president in 1997. However, Reverend Lowery continued his activist work and remained a steadfast champion of Christian morality, truth, and justice until the end.
 
            Moving to Atlanta in 1968, Reverend Lowery accepted a position as pastor of Central United Methodist Church, where he continued to combine his commitment to religion and social action. He became a legendary leader of this very community-conscious, socio-politically active church community, connecting that work to the world around him. Reverend Lowery remained at Central for eighteen years before moving to Cascade United Methodist Church, where he retired as pastor in 1992. To emphasize again, however, even with his retirements as a pastor and as a leader of SCLC, Reverend Lowery’s ardor for activism did not subside. His very active involvement continued, and the accolades continued to roll in, among these recognitions: the renaming of Ashby Street in his honor in 2001; the establishment by Clark Atlanta University, also in 2001, of the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights, a think tank to conduct research and analyze issues related to civil and human rights; and the awarding to him of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009. 
 
             Reverend Lowery was known for his indefatigable commitment to justice and action, and for his prowess as a fiery and unflinching speaker of truth. He left us on Friday, March 27, 2020, at 98 years of age. He had a long and full life, meaningfully and well lived, and we are grateful that he walked among us.  We can honor his legacies of leadership and his amazing life-long record of achievements by being as relentless as we can possibly be in carrying his work forward. There remains, still, much work to be done. We must be ever-vigilant. As Reverend Lowery stated in the benediction that he gave at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, “Let all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen! Say Amen! And Amen!”
 
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Listed below is just a sampling of the media tributes to this distinguished civil rights veteran:
 
https://www.ajc.com/news/remembering-the-rev-joseph-lowery/ZDDQpmposlIvRu6I9mhcXI/
 
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/veteran-civil-rights-leader-joseph-lowery-dies-98-200328054920968.html
 
https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/27/us/joseph-lowery-dead/index.html
 
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/civil-rights-icon-rev-joseph-e-lowery-dies-98-n1170996
Announcements

Photo Credit: Spelman Graduation © 2015 Julie Yarbrough

Choice Neighborhoods
2020 Scholarship Program!

The Choice Neighborhood (CN) Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant Program, which was awarded to Atlanta Housing and the City of Atlanta in September 2015 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CN Scholarship Program assists eligible individuals to achieve postsecondary education goals. Scholarships will be awarded without regard to race, religion, sex, color, national origin, disability or familial status. All candidates for the scholarship must complete the online application and meet established eligibility criteria. Award amounts will be determined by a selection committee based upon the review of student merit and need. If awarded, funds will be disbursed directly to the educational institution, and can be used for tuition or any school or student-related costs and fees.

The Application deadline has been extended to April 30, 2020. Click here to apply! Or email your application and any questions to: cneducation@atlantahousing.org.

Microgrant 6.0 Applications Released Today!

Today, on April 1, 2020, the Microgrant Program 6.0 will release applications. There are mandatory information sessions on 4/16 and on 4/23, and a technical assistant session will be offered on 4/30. The maximum grant award if $5,000 each, and there is a total of $50,000 grant funding available this year.

Requirements for applicant eligibility:

  • Business, non-profit organizations, or civic groups may apply
  • Project must be located within the Choice Atlanta boundaries of Ashview Heights, Vine City, and Atlanta University Center neighborhoods
  • All applicants must register as an AH vendor and attend one mandatory information session (either in 4/16 or on 4/23)

Funding categories include: 

  • Capacity Building
  • Public Safety
  • Urban Farming and
    Community Gardens
  • History/Heritage
  • Healthy Lifestyle Initiatives
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Youth Empowerment and Education
  • Arts and Placemaking

Applications are due: Friday, May 15, 2020.
Please click here for more information

If you have announcements that you would like to share, please note two important points:
  • The old email account for Westside Communities Alliance has been closed.  Please direct messages and send flyers and announcements to:  info@communitieswhoknow.com 
  • Currently, the CWK Newsletter will be posted monthly – in the first half of the month. Please submit your flyers and other relevant information to the email address above – as close to the beginning of the month as possible. Thank you!

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