Belo Mansion was the site of a heady experience on the morning of Saturday, October 5, for Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support‘s third annual First Ladies’ Bruncheon. Thanks to Event Chair Effie Dennison, Event Planning Co-Chairs Vickie Bates and Charlotte Berry and their committee of 50, the ballroom was filled with ladies wearing beautiful hats to salute the people and organizations that have provided support for those escaping domestic violence. Here’s a report from the field:
Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support hosted its third annual First Ladies’ Bruncheon presented by Texas Capital Bank at the Belo Mansion. Held on Saturday, October 5, the event ushered in October, nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Event Chair Effie Dennison and Event Planning Co-Chairs Vickie Bates and Charlotte Berry, along with more than 50 host committee members, filled the room with 400 leaders who came together to say, “Enough is enough” when it comes to domestic violence within faith communities.
As guests stepped into an elegant lilac-toned garden scene with iris and heather-toned linens from BBJ Linen delicately lining the tables, quiet and poignant music filled the room. 94.9 KLTY radio host Starlene Stringer kicked off the program with a welcome and served as mistress of ceremonies. Soon after, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support CEO Jan Langbein inspired the audience with a message about the strength found in people supporting one another. “It’s so important that we’re all here to help the families in our community. As members of faith groups and as human beings, we need to reach out to each other,” she remarked. Faith-based speaker Dr. Cynthia Mickens Ross, who motivates others to find their higher calling, followed with a moving invocation.
A mouthwatering brunch was then served, consisting of cinnamon roll bread pudding with triple berry crumble and maple glaze, served alongside morning spinach and potato quiches topped with hand cut pepper bacon. A raspberry vinaigrette side salad accompanied the meal, along with lavender pot de crème with blueberry compote and white chocolate mousse, all topped off with refreshing blue raspberry pomegranate iced tea.
The program continued with a powerful musical performance by Tiwana Phillips-Johnson. Inspired by her praise, guests were inspired by join alongside her in worship. Next, Effie and Jan led 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 to the stage to accept their award:
- Abraham Award: Man of Faith — Pastor George Mason, Wilshire Baptist Church
- Deborah Award for Visionary Leadership — Faith Johnson
- Daughters of Zelophehad Award for Agents of Change — Ty Beasley and RSM US LLP
- Esther Award for Leadership Through Action — Yulonda Davis
- Miriam Award for Community Advocacy — Debra Nixon-Bowles
- Abigail Award for Courage and Faith — domestic violence survivor Maria Escamilla
The honoree videos can be found here.
Dr. Sheila Bailey then took the stage to present a galvanizing message about rising up from our struggles and joining together to fight injustice and influence change. She spoke with conviction about dispelling the myths associated with domestic violence in the faith community: the myth that abuse doesn’t happen in Christian homes, the myth that submission will solve the problem, and the myth that it’s the woman’s fault. “Every woman needs to know that every woman has a voice. Whatever your voice is, know how to use it.”
To close out the program, Genesis recognized the TOGETHER Grant awardees. The Southern Dallas Community TOGETHER Grant was created by Genesis Women’s Shelter in 2019 to fund a local community-based nonprofit organization for innovative programs or projects that address issues of abuse against women and children in South Dallas. The TOGETHER Grant was awarded to two organizations in its inaugural year: Annie’s Gift of Love Charitable Foundation and Arise International Inc. The grant recipients were announced by Genesis Senior Director of Fund and Community Development Senior Director Amy Norton and faith-based community engagement manager Dr. Renee F. Hornbuckle.
* Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter