State lawmakers honor community servants
The Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus honored three luminaries from Rockdale County and two from DeKalb County at the Georgia State Capitol on March 5.
The three Rockdale women—Deborah Anderson, Pastor Billie Cox and Elaine Davis-Nickens—were nominated respectively by State Rep. Tonya Anderson; State Rep. Pam Dickerson; and State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler.
The two DeKalb honorees—Ann Brown and Joscelyn C. O’Neil—were nominated respectively by State Rep. Karla Drenner and State Rep. Michele Henson.
The five honorees were among 21 women from throughout the state to receive awards presented by the Legislative Caucus in honor of Women’s History Month. The women also attended a luncheon as part of their day at the Capitol.
First Lady Sandra Deal spoke at the Servant Leadership Awards ceremony, sharing with the women her passion for educating children.
“My greatest enjoyment is encouraging children who want to read. I’ve done what I’ve done because I just purely love it,” said Mrs. Deal, who helped Gov. Nathan Deal kick off Read Across Georgia Month in support of the governor’s Grade Level Reading Initiative, a push to have all Georgia third graders reading at grade level or better by the completion of third grade.
The Women’s Caucus’ honorees represented a cross-section leaders ranging from educators and pastors to business owners, physicians and executives.
Deborah Anderson, a Rockdale educator, worked as a consultant to help Rockdale’s “Slate of 8” African Americans become elected, making history in the county. She is currently working with Rockdale Probate Judge Charles Mays in developing a metal Health Court and Veterans Court.
Pastor Billie Cox was honored as the first woman to serve as pastor of the 139-year-old Macedonia Baptist Church in Conyers when she took the reigns on Sept. 28, 2012.
Elaine Davis-Nickens, co-founder of Connection Consultants, LLC in Conyers, has been instrumental in working with elected officials and representatives from industry and labor on productivity improvement programs, labor management cooperation and employee-involvement processes. Davis-Nickens was the first African American and the first woman to hold the position of Southern Regional Representative for the U. S. Department of Labor.
L-R: DeKalb honoree Ann Brown and DeKalb honoree Joscelyn C. O'Neil
Ann Brown, who has worked tirelessly in DeKalb, was recognized for her work with the Healthy Belvedere Initiative, Partnership for Community Action, the Glenwood Pedestrian Safety Initiative and the DeKalb Neighborhood leadership Alumni Association—all efforts to strengthen the community.
Joscelyn C. O’Neil, who serves as president of the Greater Towers Community Association, was lauded for championing public safety and code enforcement in DeKalb. The retired educator has served as Neighborhood Watch coordinator and helped to establish a free community summer camp supported by DeKalb County parks and Recreation now in its 8th year.