By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
CHOICES 2015, an annual art sale, silent auction, and dinner benefiting Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, will be held Saturday, September 19 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd Street in Oklahoma City.
Beginning at 5 p.m., the Silent Auction will be held in the museum’s long hall and the Patron Champagne Reception and Art Preview will take place in the S.B. Burk Burnett Board Room. The All Guest Art Sale opens at 5:30 p.m. The dinner and program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Sam Noble Room.
The event, which raises funds for general operations and educational programs in central Oklahoma, will feature special guest speaker the Honorable Wendy Davis.
Ms. Davis is an attorney, author, former Texas state senator and 2014 Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee.
From humble beginnings and as a single parent Davis put herself through school beginning with community college. She earned a scholarship to Texas Christian University where she graduated first in her class. She went on to Harvard Law School graduating with honors.
Davis is perhaps best known for her historic 11-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate to kill a legislative effort that would have dramatically reduced women’s access to abortion care services in her state. She is widely recognized as a leader in the area of women’s healthcare.
Davis has shown passion on human rights issues, including her efforts to secure passage of the Texas equal pay for equal work law; fighting for consumer protections in the lending, insurance and electricity arenas; championing efforts against voter suppression; and advocating for victims of sexual assault resulting in legislation to clear a backlog of over 20,000 untested rape kits among several other major legislative reforms.
Though Davis was unsuccessful in her bid to become Texas’ first Democratic governor in 20 years, she shattered records in both fundraising and volunteer recruitment. With over $43 million raised in her gubernatorial race, she is proud of the fact that the average donation to her race was only $103, with over 183,000 individual contributors from across the country.
“It’s such a thrill for us to host Wendy Davis,” said Marilyn Artus, CHOICES 2015 Chair. “Like Ms. Davis, PPCO is committed to helping those individuals still challenged by the healthcare system. From the onset of puberty through menopause and beyond.”
“Planned Parenthood helps individuals better understand their own bodies, the challenges they face, and all available options,” Artus added. “Keeping our services accessible will never be more important than it is now.”
The art sale will showcase dozens of works by 36 premier artists, including featured artist Lisa Jean Allswede, as well as Bert Seabourn, Denise Duong, Diane Coady, Suzanne Mears, Paul Medina, Sue Moss Sullivan and others.
Guests will bid on more than 100 silent auction items and packages ranging from restaurant and retail gift certificates to sporting event tickets and themed packages.
“Our featured art this year is a watercolor by artist Lisa Jean Allswede, titled Our Words Define Us,” said Keri Parks, Director of External Affairs. “The piece represents the pink tennis shoes Senator Wendy Davis wore during her historic 13 hour filibuster. The featured art is autographed by Wendy Davis and will be available for purchase at the silent auction.”
The emcee for the evening will be entertainment professional Cacky Poarch.
That evening PPCO will recognize various individuals for their support. Award recipients include: Darla Shelden – The Sally Mock Friend of Planned Parenthood Award; Martha Hardwick – The Margaret Sanger Legacy Award; Former State Senator Connie Johnson – The Rod Frates Choice Award; Ken Stein – The 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award; and Dana Stone, M.D. PPCO Board President – the Board Service Award.
Danielle Williams, External Affairs Coordinator and Shelly Seek, Clinic Coordinator will receive the Outstanding Staff Service Award.
Individual tickets are $100. Patron levels begin at $150 for one ticket, $300 for two, $600 for four, $1,200 for eight, $2,500 for 10 and up.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Parks. “It’s also an opportunity to thank those who’ve been so generous and supportive toward Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma.
For more information and to make reservations, call 405- 528-0221, ext. 304 or visit ppcok.org.