Lowery family plans private and public ceremony for the late dean of the civil rights movement

Speaking publicly for the first time Tuesday, Cheryl Lowery opened up about the support her family has received since Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery passed away from natural causes with loved ones at his side Friday night.

"Our family has just been blown away by the outpouring of support and love for my father and his legacy that has come from around the world and from our Atlanta-- a city that he loved and a people that loved him-- We say, thank you," Lowery's daughter told reporters over a Zoom conference call.

Reverend Lowery was a husband, father and pastor first and foremost. Serving at Central United Methodist Church in southwest Atlanta for 18 years before leading the congregation at Cascade United Methodist Church in southwest Atlanta for 14 years. To Dr. Lowery, the church was one of the sharpest tools in the fight for voting rights, human rights, and social justice. The man who organized a non-violent movement with Dr. King and stood up for those without a voice would ultimately stand in the company of U.S. presidents.

SEE ALSO: Politicians, activists pay tribute to civil rights icon Joseph E. Lowery

That's why so many people want to honor the indelible mark Dr. Lowery left on the nation. But his daughter said it's just not feasible or even safe for so many mourners to gather during the COVID-19 pandemic. A public memorial service is scheduled for October 6, 2020--which would have been his 99th birthday.

"We struggled with what we should share with you about the when and where of our father's private service but keeping people safe is the most important consideration," Ms. Lowery said. "We know that our country and our world will get through these trying times and when we do we will honor doctor Lowery and his legacy together as a community in a manner that he deserves and as he pretty much planned."

SEE ALSO: Family: 'Dean of the civil rights movement' Rev. Joseph E. Lowery passes away

Ms. Lowery said a lot of people have asked how they can help the family at this time, adding donations to the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human rights would help continue Dr. Lowery's legacy of promoting non-violent advocacy for social justice. For details on how to give, visit www.loweryinstitute.org.