In 2007, my siblings and my cousins and I decided to create a family foundation in honor of one of my family members, Annie Howerton.  The For the Love of Annie Foundation is being established to raise money and awareness of the atrocities that so many African women face.  It is our hope that this foundation will support the many grassroots networks of women throughout the world that are fighting to empower our sisters in the Sudan, Uganda, Sierre Leone, and the Congo, so that they will be able to rise above the oppression of their physical and spiritual bodies.

More information is coming regarding the foundation.  If you are interested in discussing the foundation’s mission or donating to the foundation, please contact me at (202) 706-7953 for more details.

About Annie Howerton – I remember the day my brother Darryl introduced me to his fiancée, Annie.  After our visit, I immediately called my sister, Shina.  I had to fill her in on the details of our future sister-in-law — “I love her!”  She was drop dead gorgeous, but she was even prettier on the inside.  She was this teeny little thing, but it was obvious that she had a huge heart.  And she was a successful businesswoman, but she was extremely humble.  It was impossible not to love her.

Annie’s Fabulous Wedding – When Annie and Darryl married in August 1994, I was blown away – and that is not an easy task for a seasoned pro like me.  She wanted an African-themed wedding that was fit for a king or queen, and she got it.  The outfits, the music, the dancers, and the wedding court.  Wow!  The day was pure “eye candy.”  But the pièce de résistance of the entire day was her wedding gown.  Annie purchased an “African style” couture wedding gown from a Manhattan designer, and I must say – she wore it well.  She was stunning.  I am sure that her wedding is still one of the most talked about weddings in Danville, Virginia.

Darryl and Annie divorced in 1999, but everyone (including Darryl and Annie) eventually remained friends.  I remember seeing Darryl and Annie after a thanksgiving dinner in 2003, and I wondered out loud if their friendship could blossom into a rekindled marriage.  Both Annie and Darryl laughed at me and reminded me that they were much better friends than spouses.  I agreed with them – gave them both a hug – and drove back home to Washington DC.  I had no idea that hug would be our last together.

Our Loss – On March 16, 2004, Annie was gunned down in front of her salon.  Unfortunately, no witnesses came forward.  There were many speculations regarding that night.  I didn’t care about how she died.  I lost a sister.

I was devastated by her senseless murder, but I promised her children, Myles and Amya, that their mother’s life would not be remembered for the way she died.  Her light was definitely too bright.

For the Love of Annie Foundation – It is our hope that this foundation will keep our promise to her children, and continue the mission of a woman with a beautiful spirit, and her unwavering pride in the culture of her African ancestors.