With a tip of the hat and fascinator, hundreds of women and men attended the second annual First Ladies Bruncheon that provided words of inspiration and wisdom on Saturday, September 22. Benefiting Genesis Women’s Shelter, the event co-chaired by Shanika Davis and Effie Dennison recognized area leaders for their championing the issue of domestic violence. The timing couldn’t have been better. It was a great kick-off for October’s being Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here’s a report from the field:
On Saturday, September 22, Genesis Women’s Shelter hosted its second annual First Ladies’ Bruncheon at the Belo Mansion, presented by Texas Capital Bank. Along with 40 host committee members and planning committee members Vicki Bates and Charlotte Berry, event co-chairs Effie Dennison and Shanika Davis filled the room with over 400 men and women of various faith denominations who share a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence. The celebratory event was held to usher in October, nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Guests stepped into an early fall plum garden scene of stunning centerpieces arranged by Dallas Petal Pusher and eggplant and wineberry linens from BBJ linen, while inspirational music filled the air.
The program began with a welcome by Starlene Stringer, radio host at 94.9 KLTY who served as mistress of ceremonies. Shortly after, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, also a member of The Potter’s House Church, shared how her faith complements her ability to serve in public office. Dr. Ouida Lee, Senior Pastor of The Church of the Disciple, gave a beautiful invocation lifting up survivors of domestic violence with a blessing of empowerment.
First Ladies Bruncheon 2018*
Attendees were then invited to enjoy brunch of poblano macaroni and cheese, vanilla cream French toast with chipotle maple syrup and thick pepper bacon. Guests also enjoyed strawberries Romanoff and a custom blueberry-pomegranate iced tea.
The program continued into a beautiful, soul-stirring musical performance by Tiwana Phillips-Johnson where guests were on their feet, praising along. Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support CEO Jan Langbein galvanized attendees with a clarion call to faith leaders to share messages of hope and help from the pulpit to the pew. “We can no longer hide behind the holy hush. Because we know that abuse will not stop until abusers stop abusing, we must hold abusers accountable,” she remarked.
Another highlight of day was the presentation of awards for the six honorees. All awards were named after men and women in the Bible who displayed leadership, strength, compassion and courage. Each honoree was introduced by video and then invited onstage to accept their award.
- Abraham Award: Man of Faith – Rev. Casey Shobe, Church of the Transfiguration
- Deborah Award for Visionary Leadership – First Lady Debra Peek-Haynes, Friendship West Baptist Church
- Daughters of Zelophehad Award for Agents of Change – Dr. Sheron Patterson & Hamilton Park United Methodist Church (Award accepted by Kim McCree)
- Esther Award for Leadership Through Action – Councilmember Jennifer S. Gates
- Miriam Award for Community Advocacy – Carla Bean, Dallas County Assistant District Attorney
- Abigail Award for Courage and Faith – Monica Johnson, CEO That Girl is S.M.A.R.T., domestic violence survivor
After the award presentation, Dr. Cathy Wilkins Moffitt empowered the room with message including shocking statistics like “black women are twice as likely to be murdered by a spouse.” She reminded attendees to take a stand against domestic abuse, and that there is power in the community. Quoting Muhammad Ali, she said, “Service to others is the price we pay for our room here on earth.” Singer Tiwana Phillips-Johnson brought the morning to a close with a crowd favorite “Take Me to the King” as the audience reflected on the lives lost to domestic violence homicides and pledged to reach out to those who are still in the fight of their lives. Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Williams, senior pastor of Smith Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church closed with a unity prayer.
Guests’ favor bags included Charcoal Masks and Red lipsticks provided by Mary Kay Inc., information about Genesis and fliers announcing the new Potter’s House Bags-To-Go campaign.
*Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron