By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Thursday, August 23, women who are making a difference will be honored at the Women Empowered 2018 Fundraiser and Art Show from 6 – 9 p.m. at Plenty Mercantile, 807 N Broadway in Oklahoma City. The event will feature a silent auction, awards ceremony, food and drinks.
Proceeds will go to benefit Women Lead Oklahoma, a nonpartisan, nonprofit dedicated to the engagement and inclusion of women in civic life.
Awards will be given in three categories: Women Lead, Women Serve and Women Inspire.
Women Lead finalists are Amanda Sandoval, founder and president of Voto Latino and communications director at Dream Action Oklahoma; Carrie Sauer, director of Oklahoma City University’s Annual Giving program; and Merelyn Bell, candidate for Oklahoma State House District 45. Women Lead Oklahoma is honoring these women for their ability to “steer their communities toward justice for all.”
Women Serve finalists are Oklahoma City artist BC Summers; Heather Johnson, Executive Director at Payne Education Center, a nonprofit that works with children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties: and Jennifer Mabry, Manager/Grower at TLC Donation Garden. This award honors women for their ability to bring attention, resources and understanding to their community.
“I think awards like this are important because they recognize that visibility brings more opportunities to serve.” Summers wrote on Facebook. “The people who nominated me for this honor as well as so many others deserve recognition for supporting my volunteering craze and my weird hobbies of wanting so much to spread joy and wonder and mad critical thinking skills and super practical ‘how to’ skills in the world.”
Finalists for the Women Inspire category are Debbie-Hogue Downing, political activist and Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women Advisory Council member ; Jade Day, patient advocate and vice president of A Twist of Fate-ATS, a nonprofit for serving patients with Arterial Tortuosity Syndrome; and Stacey Wright, founder of Yes All Daughters and a co-founder of Bartenders Against Sexual Assault (BASA).
The Inspire award is given to women who have led, served, and are living examples of the power of learning, connection and action.
”I am deeply honored to be considered for this recognition,” Day said. “I serve my community, because I love the people of Oklahoma. I support Women Lead Oklahoma, because it is grassroots women and allies helping to better this world for all. Oklahoma women are the backbone of our communities and positive change often starts with them.”
Over 20 local women artists are contributing their work to the silent auction with proceeds going to support Women Lead Oklahoma.
Participating artists include: Tiffany McKnight, Denise Duong, Romy Owens, Natasha West, Christie Owen, Jenny Lee, Sandra Patterson, Tammy Brummell, Kerri Shadid, Katelynn Noel Knick, Cheryl Capps Roach, Mycah Higley, Kim Harrison, Liz Boudreaux, Sarah Day-Short, Virginia Sitzes, Beatriz Mayorca, Behnaz Sohrabian, Cara Bowerman, and Steffanie Halley.
Musical entertainment will be provided by Oklahoma singer and songwriter Odessa I Reign.