Sonya’s Spotlight Publisher Catches up with Dr. Lowery and a few guests.
Five-time gospel Grammy winner, Yolanda Adams and Emmy Award winning actor, Keith David, the star of OWN’s megachurch drama “Greenleaf,” were featured entertainers on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, when celebrities, dignitaries and activists from around world descended upon Atlanta to pay tribute to the “dean” of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Joseph Lowery, for his 96th birthday celebration. “Think Like A Man” producer, Will Packer; pastor and activist, Reverend Dr. William Barber; and attorney, Angela Rye; were among the honorees for the evening hosted by the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights (Lowery Institute). A musical extravaganza, the reception, gala and after-party were held at The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University.
The musical tribute, produced by Kenneth Green, highlighted milestones in Dr. Lowery’s lifelong commitment to the nonviolent fight for voting rights, economic equality and social justice. Nearly 100 of the Lowery Institute’s Change Agents took part in the program to let Dr. Lowery know that his legacy is secure with them. Change Agents are college students trained at the Lowery Institute then assigned to elementary, middle and high schools to teach the principles of nonviolence coupled with conflict management and social and self-awareness.
Lowery says, in their respective areas, the honorees epitomize the theme of the event, Grounded in History: Soaring Towards the Future. “They understand the nexus between our past and our future. Will Packer is not only telling our stories, he is committed to employing and uplifting people of color. Rev. Barber is continuing the fight for justice with a focus on morality, and Angela Rye represents a new generation of fierce, educated activists.”
Rev. Barber is Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, North Carolina and architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement that gained national acclaim with its Moral Monday protests, was honored with the Civil and Human Rights Award.
Angela Rye received the Social Justice Award. The CNN political commentator and NPR analyst is the CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement. Rye served as executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus and was senior advisor to the House Committee on Homeland Security under the leadership of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.
Determined to prove that black films sell, the Servant Leadership honoree, Will Packer, is one of the only African American film producers that has had eight films open number one at the box office. The Emmy-nominated producer’s most recent film, “Girls Trip”, is the first entirely black-led movie to make more than $130M. Packer also served as executive producer of “Roots,” a remake of one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time.
Presented by Delta Air Lines and The Coca-Cola Company, the bi-annual birthday celebration raises funds to support the work of the Lowery Institute, a non-profit organization established to ensure the continuity of the advocacy of Dr. Lowery and his late wife Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery, with regard to their lifelong commitment to non-violent advocacy, and the moral, ethical, and theological imperative of justice and human rights for all people. Media sponsors of the event included Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine and Jazz 91.9 WCLK.
Click on video below to view guests sing “Happy Birthday” to Joseph E. Lowery and more!
More Photos will be added soon!!