Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights issued the following statement on the violent attack by white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA:
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of brave foot soldier, Heather Heye, and all of the victims of the Charlottesville car attack as well as the state troopers who died as a result of the violence. The disgraceful hatred displayed by the KKK, Neo-Nazi and other white supremacists groups in Charlottesville is reminiscent of marches my mother, father and other civil rights leaders participated in during my childhood, says Cheryl Lowery, president and CEO, Lowery Institute.
“I know first-hand how evil these hate groups can be. During their fight for civil and human rights my parents received constant bomb threats and were shot at by the KKK during a march in Alabama,” adds the daughter of Joseph and Evelyn Gibson Lowery. “Charlottesville and other similar Incidents underscores the need for the work of the Lowery Institute and other organizations teaching techniques of non-violent advocacy. As a result of the events in Charlottesville the Lowery Institute Change Agents decided today to put larger emphasis on “It’s Time, A Social Justice Healing Retreat” in partnership with Agnes Scott College scheduled in October at the top of discussion.
“This didn’t have to happen,” says Idil Hussein, Lowery Institute change agent coordinator. “We have been witnessing the rising level of hate daily but time and time again people in power give these white supremacists room to grow and organize. We see it from some college administrators to politicians; from the bottom to the top. It’s sad that it takes the violence peaking for people to actually see what we have been pointing out for years now,” adds the Agnes Scott College graduating senior.
Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Chair, Lowery Institute Trustee Board and confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sums it up saying, “We’re called today, to rise above the littleness; to rise above pettiness; to rise above racism, hatred and vitriolic comments.” The Dean of the Civil Rights Movement continues, “We are also called to make strong comments when it is called to do so. I call upon my brothers and sisters to turn to each other and not on each other and let God use us to – in the words of Amos – let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
The Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights is a non-profit organization established to ensure the continuity of the advocacy of Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and his late wife Evelyn Gibson Lowery’s lifelong commitment to non-violent advocacy, and the moral, ethical, and theological imperative of justice and human rights for all people. The Lowery Institute ‘Agents of Change’ Program connects high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students with elementary, middle and high school students. Change Agent’s focus on principles of non-violence of the Institute coupled with conflict management, social and self awareness, conscious thought, alternative dispute resolution and peer mediation training. They encourage the younger students through daily interactions to de-escalate potential conflict teaching them how to solve disagreements without violence and to become servant leaders in their schools and community. The annual “It’s Time” social justice conversation will be held in October and Grounded in History: Soaring Towards the Future 96th Lowery Birthday Tribute will be held October 17. For more information visit www.loweryinstitute.org.