Daughter of civil rights leader, Reverend Hosea Williams Elisabeth Omilami grew up in the movement in the south. After marrying her husband, acclaimed actor Afemo Omilami in 1977, Mrs. Omilami relocated to New York City, where she worked with several notables, including Melvin Van Peebles, Woodie King, Dr. Barbara Anteer of the National Black Theatre, and Rosetta Lenore. She produced plays by Atlanta playwrights, like Ray IcIver’s “God is a Guess What?” Her experiences in New York City led to a decision to raise her children in Atlanta and she returned to the south. She became the only woman to be arrested, along with her father Rev. Hosea L. Williams in the Forsyth County Jail during a march sponsored by a group of concerned citizens. She was attached by the KKK and participated in the second march of 50,000 people one week after her arrest.
Mrs. Omilami has led several missions trips internationally including medical missions to Haiti for 10 years, to South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and her trip to the Philippines resulted in her founding the first school for the Bl’aan tribe there that has resulted in many students graduating and going to college in Manilla.
After a long tenure at Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless in a variety of roles, she became CEO in 2000. Working in partnership with her husband, Mr. Omilami, Elisabeth has grown Hosea into a year-round organization with a budget of nearly $2 million. In addition to her work as CEO, Elisabeth advocates for the disadvantaged at the national level, testifying before the Senate and other advocacy organizations.
As a subject expert in providing mass programs for underserved people she has acted as a consultant for several states and County entities and has founded “The Feeding Alliance”, a cooperative o smaller non-profits that she is working to build capacity in to do work in the Human services space. She works each day to raise funds for rent, utility assistance, and to feed over 50,000 citizens a year.
She continues her acting career and co-starring in projects, including THE RAY CHARLES STORY; TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION; THE LIST; IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, MY FUNNY VALENTINE, THE ROSA PARKS STORY, SELMA, LORD SELMA, COME BACK DAD, IN THE MEANTIME, THE BLIND SIDE and A RAISIN IN THE SUN.
One of the many plays she was in was THE BEST OF ENEMIES, about a close relationship between a civil rights worker and the grand dragon of the KKK. Then was cast in the feature film BEST OF ENEMIES with Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell and Golden Globe/Emmy winner Taraji P. Henson.
Mrs. Omilami just wrapped her performance as Ma Mabel in BET’s American soul and is writing her second installment to her play THERE IS A RIVER IN MY SOUL.
Mrs. Omilami’s awards include, but are not limited to, recognition from Two Governors’ of the State of Georgia, The National Alliance of Church Women, Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority, National Council of Negro Women, Black Women’s Agenda, International Masons and Eastern Stars, City of Atlanta’s highest honor: The Phoenix Awards, A resolution from the State Legislature, recognition from President Obama for her work through AmeriCorps, Kaiser Healthy Food Award and AETNA’s “Voices of Health”.
A grandmother of five angels and two children, Awodele Omilami and Juanita Ramey, causes Mrs. Omilami to be constantly reminded of her responsibility to future generations and to look forward to.