Author: Lillie Allen

Lillie Pearl Allen, MPH, is the founder of Be Present, Inc. and has the staff position of Creatrix of Play. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her wife Kate of 35+ years, three grown children, 15 grandchildren and 5 great‐grandchildren.

Lillie Pearl Allen: A 35-Year Legacy of Black Women’s Leadership

Thirty-five years ago, in 1983, Lillie Pearl Allen led the Black & Female: What is the Reality workshop at the first Black Women’s Health Conference. Over a thousand Black women and girls participated in this workshop. This gathering marked the beginning of a social movement, created a legacy of leadership for justice that is inclusive of all people, and laid the foundation for the 1992 incorporation of Be Present, Inc.  

 Be Present is in the 5th year of our Black & Female Leadership Initiative that addresses both the lack and, too often, distortion of the voices and visibility of Black women’s leadership in the literature, historical record and dialogue on social justice movement-building. It also highlights the process as well as the achievements of using a collective leadership approach in creating a diverse national network of activists successfully moving social justice agendas in the United States.

 The June 21-24 National Black & Female Leadership Conference, open to everyone and held in Dahlonega, GA, will highlight Black Women’s leadership in building inclusive movements for social justice.

 This blog is the first in a series highlighting the Black Women who laid the foundation for Be Present, Inc., beginning at the beginning, with Lillie Pearl Allen: 

 My community activism emerged over 40 years ago from my own history and experiences. I was searching for the answers to the following questions: “How do I get to know the fullness of who I am? Not just someone’s best friend, caring mother or daughter of migrant farm workers. How do I thrive in this world and not just survive while living in a culture where people make assumptions about who I am based on my race, my gender, my class?” Read more