The Rev. Dr. Larry Pickens, a United Methodist clergyman from the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, is executive director of the Conference of Churches. The Mistress of Ceremonies for this event was Ms. Chandi Lowry. As a TV news anchor of the Weekend Edition program for WFMZ, she reports regularly during the week at the Allentown-based station.
Ms. Lowry grew up in New Castle, Pa., and received a degree in communication from the University of Pittsburgh. She began her career in news at WTAE-TV. She later moved to Youngstown, Ohio, to become a reporter. Over the years, she has worked at news stations in Ohio, South Carolina and Georgia and won the Best TV Personality Award from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.
Ms. Lowry is quoted as saying that the best part of being a journalist is “affecting others in a positive way and being able to find out valuable information, and give that knowledge to those who would otherwise not have the chance to learn from it.” One of her activities outside of the newsroom is helping young girls shape their futures in the Junior Miss Program.
I spoke with her during the breakfast and asked her about her opportunities and the future for African Americans in this country. She did not skip a beat in affirming the importance of giving credit where credit is due. She said “without him (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) and the other pioneers, I would not be here today.”
Sometimes we forget that. Although society has made some progress in the area of human rights and equality, we have a long way to go. In order to do that we must not lose sight of those in the past who were trailblazers. They paved the way for the next generation.
People who are wise with humility and perspective give credit to those who made huge sacrifices in the past, and they never take that progress for granted. Black History Month is a time to celebrate the famous and nameless African Americans who planted the seeds that are large oaks of justice and progress today.
This special month is also a time to do what Ms. Lowry is doing: to mentor and encourage the younger generation so they can continue on the march toward full empowerment and into a future that is yet to be born. Everyone should learn all they can during Black History month and then use the lessons of the past in practical ways today.