Honoring the late Rev. Joseph Echols Lowery

Statement from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the passing of the Rev. Joseph Echols Lowery

“The Reverend Joseph Echols Lowery helped change the face of America, and I was proud to know him and learn from him over the past four decades.

“As the ‘Dean’ of an era, he helped guide a movement that moved this country to honor the ideals emblazoned in our history books not just as mere words, but as a working reality. May he always be remembered for his steadfast commitment to justice, equality, and peace for all.

“For many of us connected to the civil rights movement, he was a giant. We stood, and continue to stand, on his broad shoulders. As the longest tenured president in the history of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the only organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose ideals have guided the arc of my career, I am grateful for his life as one well-lived and its influence on many.  My work with SCLC began here in Los Angeles when Rev. Lowery became our National President (1977). I owe a great debt to SCLC, its leaders and members — especially the Rev. JM Lawson, Jr., Dr. King’s designated teacher of nonviolence.

“A preacher to his core, whose words uniquely captured the essence of all of our work, Rev. Lowery once said, ‘If you don’t know where you come from, it’s difficult to determine where you are. It’s even more difficult to plan where you are going.’ Words that ring even truer today.

“Avis and I send our love and prayers to his family and his loved ones. Today, we mourn the loss of an American civil rights icon, but let us all continue to carry on with the legacy to which he dedicated his life.

“May he rest in peace and power.”