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Founder of Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing receives presidential awards

Dr. Meeks founded the center as part of her work with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.
Credit: Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

ATLANTA — A founding executive director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing was awarded two presidential awards and named a lifetime achievement honoree. 

Dr. Catherine Meeks was awarded The President Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Volunteer Service Award medal and named a 2022 Presidential Award Lifetime Achievement Honoree.

 “[Y]our years of dedicated service to this great nation have made a difference in the lives of many," according to the award announcement.

Meeks returned to the workforce with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta in 2017 as founding director after retiring in 2008.

"Her work at the Center has also made it internationally known as an important and essential resource for racial healing work," according to the release.

Besides Meeks' work at the center for racial healing, she has also been recognized for her time as a Georgia Public Radio commentator, editor of Living into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America and a co-author of Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as a Prophet of our Times.

Meeks' received her Bachelor of Arts degree in speech education from Pepperdine University. She holds a Master's Degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University and a Ph.D. from Emory University. 

During her 25 years at Mercer University, Meeks served as their Assistant Dean of Women, Instructor and Assistant Professor, until Macon Mayor Jim Marshall pulled her away to lead the Youth Violence Prevention Task Force for two years.

Through that work, Meeks was recruited by Wesleyan College as their Clara Carter Acree Distinguished Professor of Socio-Cultural studies, until retirement.

Editors note: This article was updated on March 23 to correct Dr. Meeks' education, and awards won.

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