Women In Conversation
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
A mid week delight to inspire and help us look forward to finishing the week stronger than the last.
With an excuse to cut out of work early on a Wednesday, my friend and I arrived at the event to retrieve my tickets from will call, where there was no line at all. We had our choice of meals from gourmet food trucks, The Fig Rig (The Girl and the Fig Restaurant), Black Piglet (Zazu Restaurant) and a pop up from Ramekins. We chatted with the vendors and said hello to Duskie Estes, owner of Zazu Restaurant who had been spending the past several weeks dealing with the aftermath of the flood of their restaurant in Sebastopol. As always, Duskie had a smile on her face and was embracing thankfulness.
We selected riblets at the Fig Rig, and as I watched others with their trays of different foods walk by me, I suddenly wanted to try everything, and questioned my current food choice. Kale Caesar salad, loaded baked potato, herb French fries and tomato soup with grilled cheese. There really was no bad choice. We walked into the lobby to be seated at cozy couches with tiny tables – just enough space for everyone to sit and eat and then motivate and mingle. The riblets were a delicious, yet messy choice, so I held off hugging my friends as they walked through the lobby, so as not to soil their stylish clothing. We stood in a line that moved quickly at the concessions stand to get a glass of champagne. We chatted with other women in line, whom we did not know, but were happy to be there. We visited the sponsor booths with interesting offerings. We left motivational messages inside books for the United Way children’s reading program. We felt the smooth top of a marble table showing off North Coast Tile & Stone’s expertise. We chatted with familiar faces and others we had just met.
I was struck by the strong upbeat, supportive energy in the lobby, as women we didn’t know started conversations that were positive and fun. It seemed as though all of the women there were ready to connect with other amazing women. Lively conversations, laughter and smiles were abundant in that space. There were a few men there too – a couple that had been dragged there by their wives or required to be there by their jobs. My friend Abraham who came with his wife, said that maybe he would learn something! Smart man.
It was finally time to take our seats for the start of the show. Maya Homicz, a young woman of fifteen, walked on stage and told a short story about how she was diagnosed with anxiety disorder at a young age and how she had struggled to live with it. She found her voice, literally, while attending Camp Roustabout at the Luther Burbank Center. She said that when she was on stage and able to sing, all of her troubles washed away and she felt like her true self. Her voice was beautiful as she sang an inspirational song and shared with a room of over a thousand people, her true spirit and her God-given gift. She was an inspiration to kick off a night that would only get better and better.
The first speaker of the night, was Lucia Garay, a young woman and a junior at Casa Grande High School. She spoke with passion from her heart about the inequality among women, blacks, Hispanics and whites as well as environmental justice. She was bold, she was courageous and had a wonderful message of change for her own generation, and our current generation. I was in awe of these two young women with so much courage, conviction and passion for what they believe in to step on stage and share what they know in their hearts is important for others to hear.
The keynote speaker who participated in the “conversation” part of the evening was Tracee Ellis Ross. She is best known for her portrayal of Rainbow Johnson on the Golden Globe award-winning television series, Black-ish. She was undeniably funny, witty, raw, elegant and smart. She shared a small bit about what an amazing and caring mother she had, who just happens to be the one and only Diana Ross. In just a few sentences, I had a new-found respect for Diana Ross in how she raised her children to be kind, caring and to embrace who they really were. Tracee carries that same spirit into her life, even though she is not ashamed to say she does not have children and is proud to be single. Although she did say that she would like to eventually find a man to be a partner with, she is not afraid to embrace the concept of loneliness. She calls it conscious singledom. She wanted women to remember that THEY get to choose who comes into their life, not the other way around. Her realization that she was “not everyone’s cup of tea” was a hard pill to swallow, but after completing a list of things she loved about herself, she realized that was okay. Some of the things she loved about herself most, she knew some people wouldn’t like – she’s a straight shooter and not afraid to say what she thinks. That can be hard for some people to handle.
I felt that the takeaway from the entire evening’s message was about authenticity – being who you truly are, standing up for what you believe in, especially believing in yourself and being kind to yourself are the best ways to bring your gifts to the world. Now go out and spread your tremendous gift!
Presenting sponsor: Summit State Bank
Founding Sponsor: St. Joseph Health
Supporting Sponsors: United Way Women United, KM Herbals
Contributing Sponsors: Hansel Suburu, SOMO Village, North Coast Tile & Stone
Venue................................. 5 stars
Entertainment/Program... 4.5 stars
Food.................................... 4.5 stars
Drinks................................. 5 stars
Décor.................................. 4.5 stars
Flow.................................... 5 stars
Overall................................ 4.75 stars
Photo Credit Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)