Lea Gilmore was named by Essence Magazine as one of "25 Women Shaping the World," and is a past winner of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive" award (the “Grammies of the Blues”) for her historical work on women's contributions to that music. Lea is the recipient of the 2016 Golden Formstone Award from Baltimore's Creative Alliance for her efforts with community arts and commitment to social justice. She was also recently hailed by the Jazz Journalists Association as the 2018 Baltimore Jazz Hero for her work in music and social justice. Lea lead Gospel concerts across Belgium in support of the Father Damien Foundation, as well as recording three Gospel CDs as a fundraiser. She was named one of the first recipients of the James Baldwin Medal for Civil Rights for her work championing LGBTQ equality. Lea served four terms on the Maryland Advisory Board for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has worked diligently for reproductive justice for Native American women (indeed, all women), and is a staunch and vocal supporter for justice for all. Lea co-authored and coordinated the publication Reproductive Justice in Communities of Color for the National Abortion Federation. She has served as the Deputy Director of the ACLU of Maryland; Policy Director and Director of Community Outreach for Equality Maryland, where she directed the Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA) and Pride in Faith; and program director for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG). She is the founder and director of “Umoja (meaning "Unity" in Swahili) Musica,” an international effort promoting non-violence, peace and human rights, embracing the power and reach of African-American traditional music in union with the traditional music of other cultures. A proud Baltimorean and graduate of Morgan State University, after the “Uprising” in Baltimore City following the death of Freddie Gray, she organized a series of “Community Sings” to bring various parts of the community together to inspire work for change. She currently serves as the First Service Music Director and Minister for Racial Justice and Multicultural Engagement at Govans Presbyterian Church.
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