Elisabeth Omilami

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Elisabeth Williams-Omilami (born February 18, 1951) is an African-American human rights activist and an actress.

Life and career[edit]

She was born in Atlanta, the daughter of activist Hosea Williams and State Representative Juanita T. Williams. Her young life was spent within the confines of the Civil Rights movements of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. After graduating from college she created the People's Survival Theatre, producing a season of five shows per year. She is credited with giving many professional actors their first jobs. People's Survival Theatre continued to produce shows long after Elisabeth's journey to New York City when her husband Afemo Omilami received a scholarship to New York University. In New York Elisabeth worked as Arts Administrator and Executive Assistant. She directed and acted as much as she could, supporting her family as her husband's career grew. In 1985 she left New York to return to Atlanta. While in Atlanta she continued to perform on stage and in film and television. Omilami is a graduate of Hampton University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre.

Activism[edit]

I'm on the battlefield for the Lord

— Elisabeth Omilami[1]

At an early age, Omilami's parents taught her that people should be accountable for each other and for their environment and should fight for justice for all people. As a young girl, she accompanied her father on marches and movements across the South. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Omilami had to be sent off to boarding school to Wasatch Academy in Utah where she was the only black student.

Omilami had also worked for over 15 years in the background of her father's Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless efforts,[2] and upon his passing in November 2000 became the organization's CEO, expanding the organization from a budget of $200,000 to over $1.5 million. She worked to provide programs that would meet the basic needs of the working poor and homeless along a continuum of care leading to self-sufficiency. She also expanded these programs from four months to year-round services, and established new programs and services, including feeding and providing medical clinics, clothing distribution, barber and beautician services, children's educational programs, and home delivery of over 22,000 dinners per year through producing events on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Easter Sunday. She has also spoken and toured worldwide for several international relief efforts in places like the Philippines, where she has founded and operates a school for the underprivileged children of Mindanou, and Haiti and Uganda, where she sponsors several orphanages.

Omilami has been acknowledged many times for her humanitarian service. Her awards include the following: Honorary membership induction into[3] Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. A Georgia State Senate Resolution in recognition of her Community Service, Atlanta Business League 100 Women of Influence, For Sisters Only, Women In Film Humanitarian Award, Secretary of State of the State of Georgia Outstanding Citizen, State of Georgia Goodwill Ambassador, YWCA Women of Achievement Academy, Burger King Urban Everyday Heroes, Kraft Community Service; SCLC Women Drum Major for Justice, T. D. Jakes Phenomenal Woman, Daughters of Isis Community Service Award, the Emory University M.L.K. Community Service Award and The National Conference of Black Mayors Fannie Lou Hamer Unsung Heroine Award. She has traveled to many parts of the world with her husband Afemo and children Awodele and Juanita to conduct missions work including Haiti, where she distributed medicines and food, Kenya, South Africa, The Philippines, where she has founded a school and still supports it today.

Theatre and film[edit]

Omilami founded of one of Atlanta's earliest theatre companies People's Survival Theater, as well as the "Summer Artscamp", providing arts programming for economically challenged youth for over 7 years. She is a playwright has written several plays, one of which is There Is A River In My Soul. She is a past member of both the Georgia Council For The Arts and the Fulton County Arts Council and is a passionate advocate for the arts to be instituted as permanent part of society. She is an accomplished actress and has performed at the Alliance Theatre in A Christmas Carol and in early 2002 in Left Hand Singing at the Jewish Theatre of The South. She can also be seen in the HBO made for television movie Boycott and will be remembered by fans of both In the Heat of the Night and the award winning I'll Fly Away.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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