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Diversity & Inclusion

Inspiring Change: Lisa Flowers Gary’s Legacy and the Ongoing Importance of Diversity

Lisa Flowers Gary, an accomplished attorney and journalist, shattered glass ceilings by being amongst the first generation of female Editor-in-Chiefs of college newspapers across the United States. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of her last issue, it is essential to recognize her remarkable journey as a trailblazer. Lisa’s achievements promoted more opportunities for women but also highlighted the importance of diverse voices in newsrooms.

Breaking Barriers: Fostering Diversity in Newsrooms

Diversity is not merely a buzzword in journalism; it is a vital component that fuels inclusive and accurate news reporting. The significance of diversity in newsrooms cannot be understated. Embracing diversity brings forth a multitude of perspectives, enabling more comprehensive and unbiased news coverage. Diverse newsrooms facilitate a deeper understanding of various communities and issues, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity. 

Overcoming Challenges and Breaking Barriers

Progress has been made in breaking gender and racial barriers in newsrooms, but challenges persist for the underrepresented in every area. However, inspiring stories abound of individuals who were not afraid to take the chance and made significant contributions. These trailblazers have shattered stereotypes, paved the way for future generations, and showcased the power of diverse voices in storytelling. Their stories serve as a reminder of the resilience and determination required to overcome obstacles.

Honoring Lisa Flowers Gary’s Trailblazing Legacy

Lisa Flowers Gary’s impact extends far beyond her college newspaper days, where she and a handful of other women throughout the United States became the first generation of female Editors-In-Chief. Transitioning to a successful career as an attorney, she continues to break barriers and advocate for equality. Lisa’s journey serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of recognizing and honoring trailblazers. By acknowledging their achievements, we inspire future generations to challenge the status quo and strive for excellence. Lisa’s determination and accomplishments inspire us to create a more inclusive society, where individuals of all backgrounds can pursue their dreams. 

Celebrating 40 Years: Reflecting on Lisa’s Journey

As we commemorate 40 years since Lisa Flowers Gary’s last issue as Editor-in-Chief at Sidelines, the official newspaper of Middle Tennessee State University, it is essential to reflect on her experiences and the lessons learned throughout her career. Lisa’s journey exemplifies the importance of breaking barriers and fostering inclusivity. While progress has been made in promoting diversity in newsrooms since her time, we must continue to advocate for equal opportunities and amplify diverse voices to ensure a more inclusive world landscape. She has made huge strides in her career as an attorney, advocating for equal treatment of all people. She focused on cases unafraid in hopes of making things different. For example, she used case law to clarify that the Tennessee Constitution Bill of Rights includes the right not to be sexually assaulted. In addition, she also took on the Tennessee Valley Authority on behalf of a whistleblower who had been blackballed by the entire nuclear industry for reporting violations to the Nuclear Regulation Commission. At 28 years old, she won the first case of its kind. Her legacy inspires us to push boundaries, challenge norms, and create a future where every voice is heard and represented in all areas of life. 


While progress has been made, there is still a need for equal opportunities and ongoing efforts to foster diversity. Newsrooms have changed, as has Law to a certain degree. At least today, there are an equal number of men and women and a lot of diversity in the classroom. When Lisa attended the University of Tennessee’s College of Law in 1993, the ratio was only 20 women to 80 men. 

Everyone watched on as the women left due to demands from husbands and children who wanted their old mom back, not understanding that you must study at all times every single day.

When Lisa entered the Courtroom as a trial attorney, it was hard for her to find even one woman in the Courtroom, much less another female trial lawyer. Things are changing, but not nearly enough. Finally, the dots are being connected in the field of mental health, and Lisa now finds herself in the middle of it, spreading awareness and working with a Local Sheriff in a revolutionary program that’s treating the mentally ill instead of throwing them behind bars.

Let us honor Lisa Flowers Gary’s legacy as a trailblazer and continue striving for a future where diversity everywhere is celebrated and valued. Her legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative impact diverse perspectives can have on shaping the world we live in. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive world through the power of diverse storytelling.

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