I would like to nominate my mom, Evelyn Bowden. Not only has she been my biggest supporter, she’s my best friend. What makes her so amazing is her heart and compassion. She is like a second mom to a lot of my friends whose parents have turned away from them because of their sexuality—she’s always ready with words of wisdom and support. In our small town in Alabama, she started a radio show to address issues in our community such as diversity, acceptance and youth issues and has opened her home for those seeking advice. I was very proud, too, that she was one of very few parents present when I was named “Top 30 Under 30” in Chicago by the Windy City Times. She’s an amazing woman who’s stronger than anyone I know. I’d like for her to receive this honor to show her not only my thanks, but also that of those within the community whose lives she’s touched.
Robert Bowden Tuscaloosa, AL
“She taught me to dream and to pursue my dreams,” Robert says about his mother, Evelyn. “As simple as that sounds, I don’t think it happens as much as it should.” As for Evelyn, she’s proud of the man her son has become. “Robert has many attributes that make me proud, but I most admire his ability to stay true to himself and not let anyone, including me, control or dictate who he is as a person,” Evelyn says. “I’m proud of his integrity and character, and he makes me laugh—really laugh.” All these wonderful qualities sound a little familiar to Robert. “I’m so proud of my mother’s style and tenacity—she attacks anything that interests her with passion and dedication,” he says. “She’s produced her radio show, created a website and written a book by herself. I’m thankful for how she raised me, because I’m sure I was a handful as a child.”
Evelyn was inspired to create her radio show when she heard a preacher say that HIV/AIDS was caused by sin. “HIV/AIDS is not punishment—this is 2007! Wake up, people,” she says. “I immediately contacted Jim Lawson Communications with my idea for a program called ‘Let’s Talk For The Children.’ In Tuscaloosa, the African-American children are the most victimized of all people, and they had no one to speak out for them, to be there for them and to tell their story. They had no voice.”
Article continues below...
Championing young people is something Evelyn is passionate about, including Robert’s friends whose parents can’t accept their children’s homosexuality. “Young people to me are precious, marvelous individuals, each bringing some unique spark into the world,” she says. “When we take the time to listen and share with them, our lives are all the better for it.”
We offered this amazing woman the chance to add a final thought, and she didn’t hesitate. “To parents who reject their children because of their sexual orientation or for any reason, it is their loss as a parent to choose to miss out on all the joy that being a parent truly brings,” she says. “You raise children to be strong individuals. You do not get to determine who they are.”
If you would like to nominate your mom (or dad), send an e-mail to