Honorees Kathryn J. Summers, Mary Dixon, Alma Jackson, Mistress of Ceremony Renel Brooks-Moon, Keynote Speaker Teresa Cox, Honorees Felecia Gaston, Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, Janice Edwards, Founding President NCBW-SF I. Lee Murphy Reed with Retired Tuskegee Airman Benjamen Reed, Honoree Marilyn French-Speller and NCBW-SF President Maxine Hickman. Photo by Carla Thomas.
The San Francisco chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women hosted its eighth annual “Bridging the Generations – Golden Girls Hats and Gloves Tea” Saturday, March 2 at the Fairmont Hotel.
Hundreds of women in their spring suits, dresses and hats enjoyed the Crown Room’s sweeping views as they honored some of the Bay Area’s most dedicated trailblazers with Mistress of Ceremonies Renel Brooks-Moon and keynote speaker Teresa Cox, a trade advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Guests enjoyed entertainment by soprano Hope Briggs, pianist Ricardo Scales, and 15-year old vocalist Shanelle Jamela Silas of Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi talked about the recent dedication of the Rosa Parks statue in the nation’s capitol. She acknowledged the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Cox spoke of global commerce opportunities as a result of the Free Trade Agreements between the U.S. and Columbia, Panama and Korea, passed in 2011. She cited California as the eighth largest economy in the world, with Fremont, Oakland and San Francisco representing $16 billion in goods and services.
“California leads in the number of women-owned businesses at 1 million,” she said. “There are free services for you to connect buyers and sellers. The more American products we sell, produce and export equals good paying jobs right here at home.”
The coalition honored many distinguished women including Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, president of Mills College; Felecia Gaston, founder of Performing Stars in Marin County and the recently formed Phoenix Project of Marin; broadcaster Janice Edwards of Edwards Unlimited; and Alma Jackson, CEO of Sojourner Truth Foster Family Service Agency.
“Mills College has given access to education and empowered students for 160 years. I applaud anyone who has a vision to invest in the development and future of women and girls,” DeCoudreaux said.
Gaston, who was honored for her dedication to underserved children in the arts, said, “Most people know Marin County as one of the richest counties in California. However, there are communities there in need, and I strive to make a difference in the lives of the youth.”
“Our youth need us, and it is quite an honor to be recognized,” Jackson said, awarded for her contributions to Bay Area foster care.
Other women honored at the event were San Francisco City Administrator Naomi Kelly, Eva Patterson, Mary McCowen-Dixon, Marilyn French-Speller and Kathryn J. Summers.
The Tuskegee Airmen were also recognized by Chartering President I. Lee Murphy-Reed, along with her husband, retired Tuskegee Airman Ben Reed.
“Our latest program is designed to assist African American women with short-term, intensive skills for job placement,” said Chapter President Dr. Maxine Hickman. She, along with event chairs Evelyn Brumfield Perkins and Ria Brandenberg, encouraged everyone to strive to find ways to better the community.