SCLC/Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.) will celebrate thirty years of empowering women and strengthening the Black family during the annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner Saturday, April 4, 2009, at the Omni Hotel Grand Ballroom in the CNN Center in Atlanta.
"SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. was founded thirty years ago to champion the rights of women, children, and families," says Evelyn Gibson Lowery, founder of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. "Despite the many challenges, I am proud to say that we've provided a wide range of programs to enhance the lives of low-income and disadvantaged youth and adults. It gives me great pleasure to celebrate this tremendous milestone in the organization's history by honoring individuals who exemplify our mission," Lowery adds.
Distinguished women presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be honored for their work in higher education; environmental activist, Laura Turner Seydel, will be awarded for her leadership on environmental issues; Michael L. Thurmond, Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner; and Ron Clark, founder and president of the Ron Clark Academy, will be honored for his success utilizing innovative techniques to educate disadvantaged youth. Students from the Ron Clark Academy performed the song "You Can Vote However You Like" at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Award winning actress, activist and humanitarian, Cicely Tyson, will receive an award for her lifetime contribution to the arts and social justice. Known for her portrayals of strong female characters, Tyson played a slave woman in the The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; the mother of Kunta Kinte, in Roots; "Harriet Tubman" in A Woman Called Moses; "Marva Collins," in The Marva Collins Story; "Coretta Scott King," in King; and "Rebecca" in the film Sounder.
Renowned artistic director of True Colors Theater Company, Kenny Leon, will serve as master of ceremonies.
"This will be an exciting year," says Scarlet Pressley-Brown, co-chair of the dinner. "In addition to our prestigious honorees, the Ron Clark Academy singers will perform, and Rev. Lowery, who delivered the benediction at President Obama's Inauguration, is our special guest. It will be a family oriented affair, and SCLC/W.O.M.E.N is dedicated to fortifying families."
The Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner pays tribute to present day "Drum Majors" - individuals who have made major contributions advancing the social justice cause in their respective fields. Founded in 1979, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc. (sclcwomeninc.org), is an independent 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization providing a diverse array of services to improve and empower at-risk and low-income families. Programs include: youth mentoring, domestic violence education, HIV/AIDS education, and computer training. Their Heritage Pride program hosts the annual Evelyn Gibson Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour through the cradle of the civil rights movement and has erected 13 monuments honoring civil rights icons. For more information or to purchase tickets call (404) 584-0303.