During the month of February, Black History Month, the Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to African Americans and the American community of diversity. Previous honorees have included U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Christine Young Farris (Sister of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Dr. Michael V. Drake, OSU President; basketball legend, Julius “Dr. J.” Erving and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty.
Moreover, given our presence near the heart of the city, we seek to promote positive role models for our church and community with specificity in the month of February.
In February 2017, the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church will honor Jeni Britton Bauer, Kevin Boyce, Mike Jackson and Ramona Lockette Battiste for being such individuals.
Jeni Britton Bauer is a New York Times best-selling author. Her business model embraces diversity in the workplace, and partnering with women- and minority-owned businesses are all integral components to both the company and its culture. One of her philosophies change in our society is: “Business is the fastest way to social change. Building a good business with a good group of people and giving back to our communities, brings change…”
In 2016 Kevin L. Boyce was the first African-American elected by the voters of Franklin County to serve as commissioner. Boyce brings experience as a State Representative, State Treasurer for Ohio and Columbus City Council member. Boyce founded the Columbus Youth Commission, advocated for stronger civil rights laws, and championed job creation strategies that led to the creation or retention of over 20,000 jobs in Central Ohio. He was honored in 2009 by Wilberforce University with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his distinguished career in public service, commitment to community, and dedication to higher education.
Mike Jackson is co-anchor of NBC4 at 6pm and 11pm. He has worked at NBC4 since 1994. He has more than 30 years of broadcast experience. Mike proudly received a first-place award for reporting by the National Association of Black Journalists in 1993 in Washington, D.C. Other honors include four local Emmy nominations for reporting and two-second place awards for reporting by the Society of Professional Journalists. Mike works with the Better Business Bureau, with the Integrity Selection Committee and many fund raisers for the UNCF College Fund. He’s also a member of the Columbus Association of Black Journalists.
Ramona Battiste, born Ramona Lockette, was born in an Antebellum South in Cordele, Georgia. The climate was one of segregation and suppression of black citizens. She knew that there had to be a better way. She and those in her community began to organize and mobilize. Ramona joined SNCC (The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) in 1963. She became a field secretary for the South West, Georgia region.
Ramona was involved heavily in national civil rights efforts with SNCC. She fought side by side with civil rights icons such as: Stokely Carmicheal, Kathleen and Eldridge Cleaver and Fannie Lou Hamer, to name a few. Ramona and SNCC led in campaigns to register citizens to vote and to even test the right to access public accommodations. After organizing a local boycott, to bring light to the hideous conditions in the local black schools, she found herself falsely accused of desecrating the United States Flag. This uproar made national news and was printed by newspapers from NY to the Chicago Tribune. After a victorious acquittal, Ramona did not allow fear to force her into discontinuing her work in the movement. A cinder continued to burn and continued her work and assisted in founding freedom schools in Rochester, NY and in South Georgia.
Ramona would marry a civil rights leader, John W. Battiste. Ramona would leave Southwest, Georgia to move to Kingstree, SC. Once she arrived there, her mother-in-law, Geraldine Gourdine Battiste, would began to train Ramona in the fine art of floral culture. Ramona would assist in the family floral business that had been established by her mother-in-law in 1941. This role of business owner and florist was not roles that many women of color would actually have as a choice of careers.
Seventy- six years after the first Battiste Flower Shop was established in rural South Carolina on Long Street, the business still flourishes in Ohio. Ramona Battiste and generations two, three, four and five can be found at Battiste LaFleur Galleria. They are located at 825 East Long Street in Columbus, Ohio. They are the only full service, black owned flower shop in Central Ohio.