Gary Flowers has been on the front line of American civil rights and public policy formation since 1989, having been trained at the historic law firm of Hill, Tucker & Marsh in Richmond, VA. Mr. Flowers has served as Special Assistant in the Cabinet of Virginia Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder; the youngest state bar Executive Director in the nation; Public Policy Analyst as the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC; Teaching Fellow in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; deputy Chair of the 2004 Democratic National Convention Committee in Boston, MA; and Vice President for Public Policy for Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Most recently, Mr. Flowers served as the Executive Director and CEO of the Black Leadership Forum, Inc., based in Washington, DC. Founded in 1977, the Forum is an alliance of the premier African-American civic, civil rights and professional organizations. In 2009, he conceptualized and launched the Black Leadership Television Network (BLF.TV), a first-of-its-kind 24/7 Internet television network featuring archival content and live events from member organizations of the Black Leadership Forum, Inc.
Throughout his career, Mr. Flowers has influenced the public policy landscape on a state, national, and international stage through policy formation and direct action, beginning as a researcher for the acclaimed PBS legal documentary, The Road to Brown v. Board: The Man Who Killed Jim Crow. Following his executive directorship of the Old Dominion Bar Association in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1989, Gary served as a special assistant in the Cabinet of Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder, analyzing regulations affecting health policy in Virginia, and state policy for Native Americans, women, and seasonal and migrant farm workers until 1993. Mr. Flowers then joined the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he helped coordinate American Non-Governmental Organizational (NGO) observers of the historic 1994 racially inclusive democratic elections in South Africa.
In 1996, Mr. Flowers represented American Civil Rights legal organizations in the defeat of a proposed Multi-racial Classification to the United States 2000 Census. In 1997, Gary joined the national staff of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) in Chicago, IL as the national field director and lead organizer, and later became Vice President of Programs and Public Policy. He co-wrote the award-winning companion book documenting Rainbow's work in the underserved communities in the United States that influenced the 1999 New Markets Initiative federal legislation of President Bill Clinton. He also co-wrote and co-designed the book, Access to Capital: Inclusion Leads to Growth, chronicling the structure and effectiveness of Rainbow PUSH's Wall Street Project in the industries of financial services, telecommunication, auto manufacturing, energy, information technology, and entertainment.
Among his awards are the 1994 Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Contribution to Democracy in South Africa Award; the co-recipient of the 1999 Rainbow PUSH Coalition National Employee of the Year Award; the 2001 University of Virginia, Black Alumni Association National Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award; and the NNPA 2008 Black Press Champion Award for his weekly columns in the Black press of America.