On Thursday, March 2nd, The Oasis Center for Women & Girls, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support” hosted their ninth annual Women’s History Month Community Luncheon to kick-off Women’s History Month locally.
More than 200 people attended the sold out event, which was held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, including local public officials and diverse members of the community. This event is our community’s largest celebration for Women’s History Month.
The event was emceed by Paula DeBoles-Johnson, Chair of the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, with awards presented by Representative Loranne Ausley, and a keynote address by John G. Riley House and Museum Founder, Althemese Barnes. City Commissioner Nancy Miller and County Commissioner Kristin Dozier presented proclamations declaring March as Women’s History Month in both Tallahassee and Leon County. Local musician Rachel Hillman joined the luncheon as the special musical guest with a powerful performance of Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”.
“Elevating the visibility of women’s leadership, especially at the local level, is imperative,” said Haley Cutler-Seeber, Executive Director. “Trailblazing women and girls are contributing to innovation and progress in every field, often while facing obstacles in their path. These women are paving the way where few had been before, opening the door for diverse women and girls to follow.”
Eight local women and girls were recognized in honor of their history-making contributions in Tallahassee and Leon County. This year’s honorees recognized at the event were Trailblazers Dr. Charmane Caldwell, Dr. Andrea Friall, Merry Ann Frisby, Rebecca Kelly-Manders, Patricia McCray, and Barbara Wescott. Alexandra Dotson was presented with the Girls Can Do Anything! Award andTaylor Biro, accepted the Unsung Shero award.
Among their accomplishments include being the first African American to serve as Chief Medical Officer at TMH (Dr. Andrea Friall) and being the first woman to become a sworn officer in the Leon County Sheriff’s Department in the 1970’s (Merry Ann Frisby).
“It is an honor and privilege to recognize these extraordinary women and girls in our community,” said Kathleen Brennan, Oasis Board President. “Local Trailblazers provide visible role models for the next generation of women leaders. It is easier to be what you can see, and girls in our community benefit from the opportunities forged by our honorees.”
The Oasis Center for Women & Girls is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support.” More information about the Trailblazer Project is available at www.TheOasisCenter.net.