Best Unsung Hero (2013)

Carolyn T. Lowery

Carolyn T. Lowery has been an outspoken and refreshingly honest crusader for the black community in South Phoenix for decades. Her unabashed, tell-it-like-it-is persona is probably why she hasn't won any of the various political campaigns she's run in since the 1980s, including a few races for the Arizona state senate. She's too honest to be a politician.

But, she's at it again — this time running for the District 8 seat on the Phoenix City Council until she was knocked out in the August primary. While she racks up unsuccessful bids for public office, Lowery is raising awareness about the social and economic inequities her community struggles with daily. Her fight involved founding, in 1985, the Arizona Black United Fund, an organization that raises money through payroll deductions (much like United Way) to support much-needed social programs in her community. She operates several initiatives on a shoestring budget: Kids Place International, a summer program that provides 9- to 16-year-olds a safe place to learn and play; Sisters Who Care, a support group for women; and Moms to Moms, a program designed to help troubled children whose mothers are serving time behind bars.


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