Women lauded at Black History event

Rosalyn McPherson, Jeri Lynn Johnson and Dr. Susan Taylor were among the honorees at Joan Shepp’s Celebration of Black History Month with Woman of Substance and Style. The event was held at Joan Shepp’s store on Walnut Street on Friday, Feb. 24. — PHOTO/ROBERT MENDELSOHN

Fashion icon and entrepreneur Joan Shepp hosted a fabulous awards reception at her boutique in Center City on Friday, Feb. 24. The event, in celebration of Black History Month, honored “Women of Style and Substance.” A portion of the proceeds from event sales will be donated to the George W. Nebinger Elementary School in South Philadelphia and The Women’s Health Alliance of the historic Mother Bethel AME Church of Philadelphia to benefit their youth and family development program. “This is the best event we do. My goal is to make a difference and going forward, people without regard to race, will work in unison and grow to be positive role models for our young people,” Shepp said.

There was a huge turnout for the evening of shopping for a cause. Tuesday Gordon Gaines has worked with Shepp for 13 years and is the manager and buyer for one of Philadelphia’s most elegant retail shops. She has been instrumental in making this event an ongoing success. “I wanted to celebrate African-American women who make a difference in our lives,”

Gordon stated.

The group of African-American women honored represented a diverse range of professional backgrounds, including arts and culture, business, education, medicine, politics and communications. I was delighted to be recognized with a host of outstanding women. They were Patty Jackson (hugely popular WDAS-FM radio personality, “10! Show” entertainment commentator and Philadelphia Tribune columnist), Brenda Barnes Hamilton, (40-year career as educator, consultant and mentor); Karen Stokes (deputy director of the Gov. Tom Corbett’s Southeast Office who also serves as executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African-American Affairs; Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, (widely recognized as one of Philadelphia’s most influential and pro-active public officials, who represents more than 150,000 residents in Philadelphia’s Northeast and Northwest sections); Adrienne Simpson (marketing manager for Philadelphia Magazine); Alberta Brennan (attorney and first lady of Canaan Baptist Church); Ayanna Mitchell (entrepreneur and owner of Fashion Forward resale, retail boutique in Chestnut Hill); Bert Asbury (education consultant and mother of Erlene Bass Nelson (retired educator and first African-American woman inducted into the Teacher’s Hall of Fame); Councilwoman-at-Large and Majority Whip Blondell Reynolds Brown (educator, community activist, political leader and concerned parent); Beverly Coleman-Cuff (mentor and educator) Councilwoman Cindy Bass (councilwoman-Elect for the 8th District Philadelphia City Council. For the past 10 years, she has served as the senior policy advisor on Urban and Domestic Policy to Congressman Chaka Fattah); Kristin Haskins Simms (apparel designer and philanthropist who has a collection at Joan Shepp and was featured on the national program, “Project Runway”); Pauletta Washington (actress and wife of actor Denzel Washington and Joan Shepp client); Rose Richardson (missionary and educator); Cheryl Green (retired educator who taught at the George W. Nebinger Elementary School); Trudi Brown (WHYY TV/Radio executive producer); Jennie Bennett (mother of Tuesday Gordon Gaines and retired educator); Leslie Tyler (first lady of Canaan Baptist Church); Priscilla Brown (CEO of Sun Life Inc.); June Gardner (retired educator); Carmella Scranton (educator); and Naneke Green (entrepreneur and principal of The Beautiful Studio).

Other honorees were Robin Jarrells-Mitchell (jointly owns and operates The Gathering Place with her husband, Jerome R. Mitchell); Elizabeth Wellington (fashion journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer); Diane Satterwaite (second-generation educator and disciplinarian for School District of Philadelphia); Trudy Haynes (Pioneering broadcast journalist who became the first African American to broadcast the weather on television in the country in 1963 and the first African American to report the news on a television station KYW-TV, in Philadelphia for 33 years); Carmella Scranton (accomplished educator); Henri Moore (Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania senior vice president and director of public affairs); Dr. Susan C. Taylor (diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Dermatology and leading cosmetic dermatologist of Society Hill Dermatology and Rittenhouse Eye Associates); Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, M.D., Ph.D. (associate dean for multicultural and community affairs at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University); Rosalyn McPherson (founder and president of The ROZ Group, Inc.-strategic marketing and project management firm specializing in education and cultural arts); Elizabeth Wellington; Jeri Lynn Johnson (Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra music director and conductor); Juliet Byrd; June Garner; Karen Stokes; state Sen. LeAnna Washington (represents the Fourth District and is a leader in the fight against domestic violence); Councilwoman Maria D. Quinones-Sanchez (made history by becoming the first Puerto Rican/Latino elected to a district City Council seat and the first Latina to serve on the Philadelphia City Council in 2007); Sonia Sanchez (poet, professor, national and international lecturer on Black culture and literature, women’s liberation, peace and racial justice. Sponsor of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) and Marcia Shepard Baker (co-owner of Baker Funeral Home in Philadelphia).

Congratulations and thank you to Joan Shepp, Tuesday Gordon Gaines and all of the honorees.

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