2021 Year In Review

What an incredible year of service. To learn what we have achieved in 2021, please take the time to scroll down and watch the videos or read the program content we’ve provided. We are so grateful for the support of our private and corporate donors who continue to invest in our mission and vision.

With national elections approaching, our student leaders are positioned to impact voter education and participation. They are also ready to hold politicians determined to suppress the vote accountable.

We hope you will review this annual report at your leisure and be inspired to join us in supporting our Scholar Activists and Change Agents – leaders who will continue to work for the common good.

We are so grateful to have created a tribute video honoring Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery.

Thank you, President Barack Obama, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Rev Al Sharpton, Congresspersons Emanuel Cleaver, Nikema Williams, and Maxine Waters, Senator Rafael Warnock, Ambassador Charles Stith, Mayor Shirley Franklin, Mr. Richard Anderson, Mr. Curley Dossman, Mr. Kent Matlock, Ms. Helen Butler, Ms. Loretta Parham, Dr. David Thomas, Ms. Yolanda Adams, and Ms. Stacey Abrams for your participation.

Cheryl Lowery


Scholar Activist Social Justice Capstones


Our Scholar Activists Program is a national yearlong social justice opportunity for students currently enrolled full-time in an accredited higher education academic institution to develop and exhibit academic and leadership skills in the pursuit of advancing social justice causes and examining issues that disproportionately affect people of color across the United States. These students are change agents, who have the opportunity to put learning into practice, by working in small teams (no more than 10 members) on a substantive, policy-oriented project. These student groups work to examine a clearly defined research problem and undergo leadership training and service designed to enhance their leadership skills and empower them to be leaders for the common good. Members of the Lowery Institute staff and guest leaders manage and supervise the projects.

2021-2022 Capstone Projects


The Education capstone team is expanding upon the work of our last year’s Education capstone team by focusing on the impact that COVID-19 and virtual learning are having on college preparedness. The team is focused on looking at how students are coping with new challenges in terms of being prepared for college and working to design a field work component where they will do virtual college preparedness seminars for high school students.

Thank you to our corporate sponsor.



The HIV/AIDS capstone team is examining the impact of ‘identity and stigma’ on the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns; specifically, as it relates to testing and outreach. The team is preparing to organize different testing and outreach efforts across their respective campuses to determine ways to improve outreach efforts and how to minimize the effect of stigma on college students’ willingness to be tested.

Thank you to our corporate sponsor.

Food Insecurity


The Food Insecurity capstone team is examining insecurity on college campuses, particularly in terms of housing and food insecurity. The team has been working to gather data about these phenomena and work with the Lowery Institute to create solutions for helping students, particularly at the AUC address these challenges.
Thank you to our corporate sponsor.



The Entrepreneurship capstone is examining the systematic barriers to the growth and sustainability of Black women entrepreneurs. The primary focus of this team surrounds identifying barriers to the access to capital and generating solutions to growth and sustainability for Black women entrepreneurs.

Thank you to our corporate sponsor.

Civic Engagement

The Civic Engagement capstone is focused on looking at “The Vote”, and analyzing voter suppression efforts in the United States. The capstone team is working to create an inter-campus effort to increase voter awareness in people between 17-29, documenting narratives, and creating action plans to help increase voter turnout on college campuses.

Thank you to our corporate sponsor.

Race Towards Reconciliation

A National Intergenerational Book Club That Promotes Racial Healing

Race Towards Reconciliation was initiated in 2013 as an intergenerational conversation with students from Clark Atlanta University and Agnes Scott College. Dr. Lowery, Kijua Sanders McMurtry and Cheryl Lowery discussed creating a safe space to examine ideas and foster meaningful discussions about race. Following the George Floyd murder, we morphed into a social justice book club, utilizing fiction & nonfiction as a springboard to engross ourselves in conversations that help move the needle towards understanding and healing.

We are so thrilled that our incredible board member, Dr. Kijua Sanders McMurtry, is our resident facilitator.

Kijua is the epitome of a scholar activist who uses her sensitivity and intellect to lead impactful and informed conversations.

JOIN US in 2022 as we kick off the year with Dr. Nikole Hannah-Jones discussing the 1619 project January 26th in our #RACETOWARDSRECONCILLIATION

Please Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VNZFHDlMRVSIesiFqv3GGA

Dr. Kijua sAnders mcMurtry

resident book club facilitator

Dr. McMurtry currently serves as Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Mount Holyoke College.

Book Club Profile

Conversations On Race

Members Range In Age From 18 -94

States Are Represented By Members Of The Book Club

Readers Participated In 2021

2020 and 2021
Race Towards Reconciliation Books

What Members Are Saying

Suzette -Washington, DC


I was skeptical about joining a book club, but I love the discussions.Each meeting is so engaging and helps me to connect and understand the thoughts, emotions, and perspectives of the other members.



This book club helped me rediscover my love for reading.It’s also a safe space for me and my opinions are valued. I feel so privileged to be able to bond with others over our shared experiences that transcend race, age, and gender.

Jean -Atlanta, Ga


For most of my 94 years I have longed for an experience like this. I’ve never been in a book group that stayed on a topic to this extent; the skills of the leader, our reason for being there, our remaining together, our reading of powerful books, all enhance our opportunity for meaningful dialog and true sharing. Being a member of this book group has been such a gift, I treasure our readings and time together.

Social Justice Book Club Boxes
Read! Learn! Lead!


Youth in our national Social Justice Book Club receive a themed box of learning activities including a book consistent with the theme. Members in grades 3-5 meet for 1 hour weekly over for an 8-week period. Through intergenerational transfer of knowledge, collegiate Change Agents lead discussions and activities. Book Club meetings encourage social responsibility, help to develop an extended vocabulary, support a positive attitude towards reading, and provide a deeper understanding of social justice and human rights issues.
We were proud to serve at Atlanta Public School’s Dunbar and M. Agnes Jones Elementary Schools and Fulton County School’s Parklane, Hapeville and Brookview Elementary Schools.

Social Justice Box Summer Camp 14 Students Received Scholarships For Book Boxes


  • Atlanta, GA
  • Smyrna, GA
  • Brick, NJ
  • Perry, GA
  • Neptune, NJ
  • Washington, DC
  • Brandywine, MD
  • Upper Marlboro, MD
Each Book Club Activity Box Includes:
  1. Grade level book
  2. Topic specific activity cards
  3. Project materials to inspire action
  4. Vocabulary list with definitions and in text references
  5. A schedule for Book Club meetings via Zoom or in person
Parent Testimonial

Thank you so much for allowing Makenzie to participate in this life-changing opportunity. When we opened the packages and she read the letter a strong sense of respect and gratitude consumed me. I never imagined the impact would be so great. I see how this has ignited a change in her I could never do. I am so proud of her. I owe many thanks to you for going the extra mile, putting time and effort, energy and money into the youth. Thank you!
Corletta Jackson
Makenzie’s Mom

Check Out Our Summer Book Club Youth Initiatives

Mimi’s Pantry


2021 was extremely challenging for the students we serve within the Atlanta University Center. Food insecurity has been an issue for students attending the campuses of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College for years, as well as many HBCU’s. Since our pantry opened in 2015, we have been dedicated to meeting the needs of students struggling to buy books, pay rent or buy food. The pandemic has exacerbated the issue.

The concept of a food pantry on the AUC’s campus was created by a Change Agent, Malika Flowers, during the Lowery Institute’s inaugural “Change Agent Tank”. In response to her own experiences and the experiences she witnessed among many AUC students, Ms. Flowers shared the difficult choices many students make between textbooks, personal hygiene products and food. Flowers envisioned the creation of a food pantry on the AUC campus. Mimi’s Pantry represents the combination of Ms. Flower’s vision, and the support and research of the Lowery Institute.

In 2019, with all campuses open, we had a clear path to addressing these needs. Our pantry was open daily for students without a full meal plan. Students from either campus were able to come to the pantry and pick up a week’s worth of food every week they needed it. It’s not that simple anymore. Many of the students that we serve are commuter students. Additionally, many classes at these Universities were still being held virtual, creating situations where many students did not frequently come to campus, if at all.

In partnership with the leadership of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College, we have been intentional about working to meet students at their point of need. We have also pursued innovative ways to help students, including providing gift cards to local grocery stores, cash stipends, and “pop ups” at Morehouse and Spelman College to provide commuter students and those without a full meal plan with food bags on campus. We have reached out to other HBCU’s to extend our mission.

We are extremely thankful for food and cash donations from Publix who filled the pantry this August and provided gift cards. The New Advent Choir and Children’s Ministry of Cascade United Methodist Church provided Walmart gift cards and a $5,000.00 emergency cash fund for students in need of food. Church of the Incarnation; Connections@Metropolitan UMC, Clark Atlanta University’s Political Science Department, Clark Atlanta University’s Facility Management and Services; Camellia Rose Chapter of the Links, Inc., Second Helpings; KPMG, LLP; National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, and incredible individual donors like the Norwood’s, have helped us remain stocked and available to meet students’ needs. The Camellia Rose Links, Inc. not only donated $1,000.00 for Thanksgiving turkeys, but also literally served by preparing homemade mac and cheese for 200 students in the AUC. We sincerely appreciate the in-kind services and donations from every donor.

Meet our Change Agent: Pantry Coordinators

Camile Franklin
-Spelman College

Jacqueline Thompson
-Spelman College

Monthly Drive thru’s. (1ST SEMESTER)

Pop Ups on Spelman and Morehouse Campus (2ND SEMESTER)

Thanksgiving Basket POP UPS

Thank You Publix

A huge thank you to Publix Supermarket, Inc for literally filling the pantry. In addition, we are distributing Publix gift cards that are so helpful to students particularly during the pandemic.

Brenda Reid
Publix Super Markets
Community Relations Manager

Thank You Kroger

A huge thank you to Kroger for remodeling the Pantry.

New Partnerships

Change Agent Tank


Our 6th annual “Change Agent Tank” was held in July virtually for the first time. Three finalists competed to win $10,000 by pitching a sustainable social justice concept virtually before a panel of esteemed judges. The winning project, “HOW-TO”, pitched by Maryam Ware received $5,000 in funding.
Thank You to the Southern Area of the Links, Inc. who contributed $10,00.00 to the Tank.

Our second and third place winners received $4,000 and $1,000 respectively to support their initiatives. We are so proud of these students and their dedication to change.

Apply for or sponsor the 2022 Change Agent Tank

An Update from our 2001 Tank Winner

Watch the 2021 Tank

The Change Podcast


Our student led podcast – THE CHANGE is hosted by three incredible Change Agents from within the Atlanta University Center. These students tackle social justice issues that confront college students on a daily basis. This year has been extremely challenging for students nationally. Housing, food insecurity and other issues are discussed, and solutions are sought to bring about change.

Morehouse College student John Washington’s project, The Change, was a winner of the 2018 Change Agent Tank.

Civically Engaged


Throughout the year, Lowery Institute Change Agents engage in direct action to respond to issues and causes affecting their communities. Although the pandemic has in some ways hindered the ability of students to gather publicly in large groups, their voices have not been silenced. These courageous young social justice activists continue to stand on the front lines and use their voices to challenge systems of injustice and fight for change. By holding elected officials accountable, encouraging others to register to vote, or speaking out against injustice, our change agents remain Civically Engaged.

Get Out The Vote


Scholar Activists Jaxzia Perez – Mt. Holyoke College, David Valdes -Morehouse College, and Deja Mason – Spelman College spoke at My Vote, My Story, Get Out To Vote !!! – a virtual rally to encourage students to Get out To Vote before the November 4 elections in 2020.

AHF Candlelight Vigil


Scholar Activists Essence Adams from Spelman College, Paige Hawkins from Clark Atlanta University, and Patin Drayton-Brown from Clark Atlanta University spoke at a candlelight vigil sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to remember those who were lost to COVID-19 and to encourage young people to get vaccinated.