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2012 Women of Excellence: ‘Conviction, passion, integrity, strength and courage’

This past Saturday (April 28), we hosted the 5th Annual Women of Excellence Awards Presentation at the Memphis Botanic Gardens.

This past Saturday (April 28), we hosted the 5th Annual Women of Excellence Awards Presentation at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. This fantastic event recognizing and honoring area African-American women for their contributions and achievements, has become an annual Memphis tradition.

 Bernal Smith II
Bernal E. Smith II, Tri-State Defender President / Publisher

With nearly 400 attendees, the event continues to grow in both scope and impact, serving as a platform of recognition and inspiration. Thanks to our sponsors – FedEx, AT&T, Citizens Bank, Allstate Insurance and Real Times Media, Inc – for their investments and support in making this our best Women of Excellence event yet.  

As The New Tri-State Defender continues its transformation into a dynamic 21st Century multi-media outlet of cutting edge introspective global and ”hyper-local” news and information, we realize the importance of telling “our stories” and highlighting the daily contributions of African Americans to the growth and well-being of the Greater Memphis community. It is our role and responsibility to inform, inspire and elevate through our various portals, giving the entire Memphis community an opportunity to embrace and recognize the diverse contributions made each day by people from all walks of life.

We shine the spotlight on these individuals and the contributions that enhance all of our lives and ultimately make Memphis a better place to live. It is my sincere hope that events such as the Women of Excellence Awards and the accompanying editorial coverage serve to inspire someone to action – to contribute, to invest, to work, and to commit themselves to principles and values that lead to greater stories of triumph and victory versus those of defeat and despair.

Our keynote speaker, Lucy Shaw (chairwoman of Tri-State Bank and a TSD contributor), spoke with great conviction and eloquence about each person’s place in Earth University. She advised that everything in life boils down to our intention and purpose; it is those things that ultimately determine how we apply our gifts and talents and how we end up contributing.

It was the TSD’s intention to justly uplift our honorees with overdue recognition, and our purpose to provide inspiration to them and others to duplicate their efforts and contributions toward making this community a better place for all. Mayor AC Wharton Jr., Congressman Steve Cohen and County Trustee David Lenoir all attended the event with similar intention and purpose.

During an incredible morning of salute, our 2012 honorees received an incredible tribute in dance and poetry (“Phenomenal Woman,” Maya Angelou) from Tangela Mathis, a Soulsville Charter School student, and her mother.  For the event’s finale, The New Tri-State Defender’s unofficial house band, Prosody, provided a fitting musical tribute that brought a rousing standing ovation and a call for an encore as they performed R. Kelly’s “When a Woman Loves.” The day was justly a day of high tribute to a group of sisters deserving of the moment.

Long-time TSD reader and supporter, Mrs. Pearl Street, and her family were my special guests. I recognized her and shared how she got up in the middle of the Top Ladies of Distinction luncheon where I was being honored (April 14) and gave The New Tri-State Defender a ringing endorsement, speaking passionately of the importance of this publication for the Greater Memphis community.

An elderly and dynamic lady, Street had spoken with so much courage and conviction that she captivated the audience and motivated many to follow her actions. For years, she has dipped into her own pockets and purchased 10 to12 annual subscriptions at $20 to 30 each for friends and family. She has been a loyal supporter and subscriber and a true advocate through many ups and downs of the newspaper.

Mrs. Street represents the essence of what our Women of Excellence awards is all about; women of conviction, passion, integrity, strength and courage. It is about women who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Mrs. Street was an honorary Woman of Excellence this year because she truly deserves it and has served as a source of inspiration for me to continue the work of reinvigorating and reengineering this great publication into a dynamic multi-media outlet for generations to come.

I congratulate and thank all of this year’s honorees and encourage each of them to continue the great work and contributions they are making in the city. More importantly, I ask them to remain engaged with the TSD as we move to inform, inspire and elevate the quality of life for our readers and those in the Tri-State area.

We look forward to honoring another fabulous 50 Women of Excellence in 2013!

 

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