ATLANTA -- A number of reactions to the death of Evelyn Lowery came in Thursday afternoon as people learned of her passing.
Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, pastor of historic Ebenezer Baptist Church issued a statement early Thursday afternoon:
As pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of Martin Luther King, Jr., I join with people across Atlanta, the nation and the world in grieving the loss of a valiant soldier for justice, Evelyn G. Lowery. We hold Rev. Dr. Lowery and the entire Lowery family in our hearts and in our prayers.
While we grieve this loss, we are grateful for her life. Mrs. Lowery was born in Memphis, TN, the daughter of an activist preacher and married an activist preacher who would spend years serving on the front lines of a transformative movement led by an activist preacher. Committed to a freedom faith, she, no less than her husband, was an ardent follower of Martin Luther King, Jr., carrying forth the legacy of justice making at deep personal cost and risk.
As a woman and warrior in the non-violent struggle for justice, Mrs. Evelyn Lowery boldly confronted the challenges of racism and sexism, never flinching, never failing in her commitment to the best in the American spirit. Recently, as I stood with her and Dr. Lowery at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Mrs. Lowery's dedication to the movement and to her husband was quite evident as she pushed her way through crowds of admirers while literally pushing him in a wheelchair. Her love was unconditional, her legacy is irreversible, her life is an inspiration for all who walk freedom's way.
Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell also issued a statement Thursday on Mrs. Lowery's passing:
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mrs. Evelyn Lowery. As a longtime community leader and, Founder and Chairwoman of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., INC., she was a powerful force in the civil and human rights movement, giving voice to disenfranchised women, children and families.
"She was also a devoted mother, and wife to Rev. Joseph Lowery. Through their collective service, they have positively impacted the lives of many people and serve as a wonderful example of a couple dedicated to both service and each other. As we prepare to celebrate her life and her legacy, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to her entire family and those whose lives she touched."
Statements were also released by other members of the Atlanta City Council Thursday:
"Mrs. Lowery was a lady of quality, class and distinction. Her work in the promotion of racial and economic justice, women's rights, and religious freedom has left an indelible mark upon the social, political, educational and moral conscious of our community, our state and our nation. Her level of intelligence, grace and compassion will be difficult to surpass. Atlanta, the nation and the world are a better place by her being in our midst." - Atlanta City Councilmember Felicia A. Moore, District 9
"Mrs. Lowery was a civil rights leader, a courageous woman, community activist and a humanitarian. We know that God knows best and she is now at rest. But while on this earth, she paid her dues to society and built sustainable programs that are meaningful to our community." - Atlanta City Councilmember C.T. Martin, District 10
"I am eternally grateful to Mrs. Lowery for her brave and passionate commitment to achieving equality for all women and men of color. My generation, and those to come, have been forever changed because of her willingness to sacrifice so much of herself, and of her family. Her selfless commitment to the cause of Civil Rights will always be an example of the responsibility we each have to leave this world a better place than we found it. My thoughts and prayers are with the Lowery family." - Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, District 11
"I extend my deepest condolences to you and your family. I hope that time and remembrances will help to comfort the burden of your sorrow, and that you may receive some measure of comfort knowing that others care and share in your loss. I was honored to join Mrs. Evelyn G. Lowery and the Women of SCLC Women Inc. and my After 5 After program students for the Evelyn Gibson Lowery Civil Rights- Heritage Tour this past March 2nd and 3rd. The two-day tour from Atlanta to Alabama to see Historic Landmarks and meet the people of the Movement was a once and a lifetime event." - Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce M. Sheperd, District 12
US Rep. John Lewis referred to Mrs. Lowery as a pillar in the Atlanta community:
"When I heard that Mrs. Evelyn Lowery had passed, I was actually chairing a Whip meeting for the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Capitol. I asked all the members to stop for a moment of silence in her honor. Mrs. Lowery was a pillar of our community, a valuable participant in the struggle for civil rights, and an admired role model to the young people she mentored.
She was supported her husband in all his work, but she was a leader in her own right, born into the struggle through the activism of her parents in Memphis, Tennessee.
A few years ago, she organized a campaign, called the Drum Major for Justice Award, which commemorates some of the participants in the Civil Rights Movement by placing markers that help to tell their stories. Among the awardees were the Rev. James Orange, the Rev. Hosea Williams, Viola Liuzzo and other non-violent soldiers who sacrificed a great deal for the cause of civil rights and social justice. Her steadfast devotion to her husband was admirable, and her unwavering commitment to the issues of social justice will be hard to replace. Mrs. Lowery will be deeply missed."
Georgia Democrats also remembered Mrs. Lowery, pointing out that she ensured that women had a voice in the civil rights movement.
Democrats in Georgia are mourning the loss of Ms. Evelyn Gibson Lowery, a civil rights activist who ensured that women had a voice in the Civil Rights Movement. After learning of her passing this morning, members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus expressed their deepest condolences. Ms. Lowery was founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference/ Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. and wife of Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Ms. Lowery, a civic leader who dedicated her life to selfless service for women and children. My thoughts and prayers are with her family," said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. "Mrs. Lowery annually hosted the Drum Major for Justice Awards, but it is she who led the way. Her legacy will continue to live on through SCLC/W.O.M.E.N by inspiring women all over the world to continue fighting for equality. I am honored to have known her. She transformed lives, including my own."
Ms. Evelyn Lowery founded SCLC/WOMEN, Inc. in 1979 to champion the rights of women, children, families, and responding to the problems of the disenfranchised regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or religion. She is survived by her husband, Civil Rights legend, the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, three daughters, a sister, and grandchildren.