Day 1 of 6 Days and 6 Awesome Events. The National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards.

As I sit here typing like I’ve been doing since I got up at about 8am

I reflect on the amazing past few days I’ve had. It has been a bit of a beautiful whirlwind, and I’m resting (by working in my bed) and looking forward to going to the US Olympic women’s boxing finals tonight and then a Halloween party where I still don’t know what my costume will be.

I’ll probably post whatever I come up with on Instagram and Facebook if you follow me on there.

Should be interesting. :)

Over my next few blogs, I’ll share the great experiences I’ve had at some amazing events!


Last Thursday at about 4:30pm as I sat in my office working on my laptop (okay, I was actually on my couch watching tv but still working on my laptop), my awesome friend, line sister and former colleague, Teresa, called.  She invited me to join her at the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards.

I had to be downtown by 6, but I couldn’t turn down that offer.

I got ready in 30 minutes and prepared to fight traffic to get there on time. I did, and thought about how my traffic fight and any other fights in my life did not compare to the fight each of the night’s honorees had endured!

Teresa is on the right, and we ran into our soror, Almetria Turner, who creates the beautiful gifts each honoree receives. Her business is Beaux Cadeaux gifts, and she has done an amazing job for the awards ceremony for the past ten years!

The National Civil Rights Museum Freedom AwardsThe National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards

Through my jobs with the Memphis Grizzlies and FedEx

I’ve had the honor and privilege of attending the powerful ceremony in the past. My very first time going was in 2002, and it was pretty amazing because I sat with Grizzlies’ players including Shane Battier and Pau Gasol and witnessed Julian Bond and Rigoberta Menchu being honored.  Over the years I’ve been blessed to see other amazing honorees including Geoffrey Canada, Earl Graves, Sr., and Julian Bond.

This year’s honorees were Freedom Rider- Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Selma director-Ava DuVernay, and Ruby Bridges-Hall who was the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana.

Summer Owens FA

The awards ceremony was followed by an incredible reception.

As we “marched in” following host Michael Eric Dyson to the reception, we witnessed women, men, and children with moving signs that reminded us just why we celebrate the Freedom Awards. Sorry the pictures are so blurry, but we were marching…really moving…physically and emotionally.
The National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards       The National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards

At the reception, I got to see one of my favorite artists perform! Chrisette Michelle was amazing and sang one of the songs of the soundtrack of my life, Blame it On Me (that story is for another blog…).

chrisette michelle

I forgot to get a picture..

but I got to see one of my favorite people- Beverly Robertson who was the director to the National Civil Rights Museum for years. Her husband, Howard Robertson is amazing too, and I worked with him when he was in radio, and I worked for the Memphis Grizzlies in promotions. I’ll talk more about Beverly when I talk about the Sunday event of my week.

But I did get a picture with this amazing young lady, Markuitta.

She did powerful spoken word renditions of each honorees story. When she approached me at the reception, she asked, “Are you Summer Owens?” When I said I was, she told me she had read my book and could really relate as a single mother. I was truly honored by this impressive young lady!

Amazing, amazing women. An amazing night. Amazingly blessed.

Follow this blog or sign up for the S.O. What! newsletter at for notifications as I write about the rest of the days in this incredible sequence-
Saturday- A Pink Affair Breast Cancer Awareness event                                                                 Sunday- US Olympics Women’s Boxing Trials Elite Eleven Awards Ceremony                         Monday- Memphis Grizzlies Tip-off Luncheon                                                                 Tuesday-Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis Power of the Purse Auction                     Wednesday-US Olympics Women’s Boxing Trials



I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges.  provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.

Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker?  I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.