Thursday, July 13, 2006

101+ Women Honored at Black Expo

When I got the e-mail or phone call, maybe both that I’d been nominated as a woman making a difference in the Bay Area, I felt honored someone noticed, then when Emiola Omoyo called to tell me not only was I nominated all the women were going to be honored, all 101 women, I was like wow – that’s a lot of sisters.

The evening was elegant from start to finish, Sister C. Diane Howell and The Harvest knew how to make a sister feel special. At the reception people greeted one another, it was like a special club, everyone – almost everyone in gold, white or a combination of the two. The e-mail must have been one of the many I was too inundated with work at the time the event was shaping up to notice. Teaching will do that to a person, especially when one is teaching an accelerated Critical Thinking Course – I was sick for three weeks after my grades were due.

So anyway, I had on black – I thought I looked elegant…pink and gray pearls around my neck and at my ears. Sister Bishop Ernestine Reems had on a black dress and Ave Montague had on a black suit too, so I wasn’t alone.

However, Karen Brown, and this pretty sister I met in the elevator, Georgia W. Richardson, in a white lace affair were visions of loveliness. I felt like a model on a runway…we climbed the stage from two different directions…then after a photo with the hosts, we then took another photo once we came down off the stage, and walked down the center aisle to the well-wishes of folks I hadn’t known were in the audience.

It’s too bad the tickets were so high; I know a lot of people I could have invited who would have loved to come. As it was, most the tables were corporate sponsored. Sister Diane knows how to work the market.

The dinner was nice…as was the company. Sitting waiting to receive the plaque I made some new friends – I was seated next to Terri J. Vaughn, Take Wings Foundation, and Mother Mary Ann Wright was nearby as was Barbara Rogers, in fact, I had Barbara’s plaque, she had Elena Serrano’s who wasn’t there.

Even though it was kind of hectic and people were flustered, I’m glad I was there this evening. I had to take two St. John’s Worts because I was so nervous, I could get out the door, but when I arrived Gloria rescued me and talked to me until I found some friends to go hang with until the grand entrance.

We had these cute wristband corsages. I’d never had a corsage before. I missed out on all the high school dances and things like that because at Muhammad University the boys and the girls didn’t socialize, so there were no dates and my ex-husband never bought me a corsage, so the white or yellow roses for our wrists was a sweet touch as were the baseball style caps with the words Phenomenal Woman on it.

There was also a corporate goodie bag filled with items one would never buy. We were serenaded by Gregory Ballad at evening’s close. It would have been better I think if he'd sung while we had dinner before the next phase of the evening's event and a really talented band. I wanted them to roll up the carpet a dance…especially after dessert.

But it was a staid and proper affair. I only say a couple of fingers popping when the band played I’m Every Woman.

Towards the end Tarika Lewis, also an honoree, performed a number on her violin – I hadn’t seen a violin with a wawa pedal before. It was a really cool sound.

The hotel manager was there and spent a long time with Mother Wright talking to her about ways he could help her feed more people. I thought the entire evening a great example of committed men and women who want to share wealth with their communities such as Ernest Clark, Seville Real Estate, and Ralph Grant, Grant & Smith CPAs, who both received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

I wonder how these values trickle out into the mainstream so that corporate greed is lessened and capital more evenly distributed so that all win.

The Harvest is taking youth to the 1st Annual African Economics, Science, and Technology Summit and Trade Mission in Senegal, West Africa, this December. Call (650) 771-1336 to see how you can sponsor a youth.

Pictured from top left to right: Wanda Sabir, Maafa San Francisco Bay Area, and Terri Vaughn, Take Wings Foundation; Deborah Vaughn, Dimensions Dance Theatre, Wanda Sabir, and Ave Montague, San Francisco Black Film Festival; Mother Mary Ann Wright, and Wanda Sabir. Mother Wright had her 65 birthday on July 11, the day before the event.


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