Television and radio personality Steve Harvey as well as media mogul Tyler Perry are expected to be onhand, along with an estimated 2,000 others, to celebrate and pay tribute to civil rights legend Joseph E. Lowery for his 92nd birthday celebration.
While Lowery’s presence at the event is unknown, due to his wife’s stay in critical condition at a local hospital after suffering a stroke, a distinguished team has lined up to lead this special celebration. Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was selected to serve as Honorary Chairman. Richard Anderson, President and CEO of Delta Air Lines and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed are Honorary Co-Chairmen. There will be a surprise performance by an entertainer that a spokeswoman called one of Dr. Lowery’s favorites.
Also at the event there will be a special presentation of the inaugural “Joseph E. Lowery Agent of Change Award” made to Tyler Perry, President of Tyler Perry Studios, for his outstanding contributions to the world of television, film and mankind.
“While we continue to lift Mrs. Evelyn Lowery in prayer and pray for the entire Lowery family, it is Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery’s directive that we carry on’ with the fundraiser for the Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights,” said Diane Larche, a spokeswoman for the Lowery family.
“The carry on spirit is indicative of the legacy and life work of both Dr. and Mrs. Lowery who believe that no matter what, the work that must be done is too important not to move forward,” Larche added. “Two examples of the work of the Institute, are the anti- violence and conflict resolution programs at Perkins Elementary School and Sylvan Middle School as well as a race and reconciliation program with college students.”
The event will feature “I’ve Known Rivers,” a musical and theatrical experience in celebration of the life and work of the civil and human rights leader. The event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive, SW, Atlanta, Ga., 30314.
“This evening has a dual purpose,” said Cheryl Lowery, Lowery’s daughter and the executive director of the Lowery Institute. “While we celebrate my dad’s 92nd birthday and his tireless work for all people, we also seek to raise funds to carry on programs that reflect that dedication to service.” .The Institute was established in 2001 on the campus of Clark Atlanta University to continue the legacy of Dr. Lowery whose life work has been nonviolent advocacy.
Lowery added that Perry was a clear choice as the inaudural award winner because of his work in Atlanta and around the globe.
“Tyler Perry serves as the perfect example of someone who has worked tirelessly as a champion for the common good,” Lowery said. “Central to the mission of the Lowery Institute is to empower, inspire and train current and future leaders as “change agents” to explore the moral, ethical and theological imperatives for justice and human rights. Mr. Perry has persevered in spite of personal and professional challenges and has achieved incredible results in an industry that has historically limited minority participation.
“As an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, producer and author, he has used his vast business network to employ hundreds of people in underserved areas of our community. He has been involved in civil rights cases, donates generously to charities, children’s issues, homelessness and feeding the poor. We can think of no one more suited to receive the first Joseph E. Lowery Agent of Change Award than Tyler Perry,” she said.
The theatrical production of “I’ve Known Rivers,” produced by Kenneth Green, will celebrate milestones in the movement and Dr. Lowery’s continued mission. It features performances by Cassi Davis, Terri Vaughn, Rolanda Watts, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Wintley Phipps, Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins, Kenny Leon, Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs and other special guests.
More than 2,000 citizens and community leaders are expected to attend the festivities. Event proceeds will benefit the Lowery Institute.
Known as the “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement,” Rev. Dr. Lowery has held a diverse series of roles over the course of his nine plus decades, most notably serving as the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and serving as the organization’s leader for 20 years. In recognition of his lifelong commitment to the nonviolent struggle for the causes of justice, human rights, economic equality, voting rights, peace and human dignity, President Barack Obama awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Aug. 12, 2009.
Tickets for the celebration are available online at www.loweryinstitute.org/Lowery92. For additional information on sponsorship opportunities and tickets please contact Ryan Maltese at firstname.lastname@example.org, (404) 524-8406.