Ten ladies in red formal wear enjoy the sold out Ladies In Red Women’s Empowerment 22nd Annual Celebration in the Golden Gate Ballroom of the Concord Hilton that brought together 650 women and two dozen vendors. Left to Right: Sheila Roundtree, Joyce Gray, Pearl Woodard, Marva Hamilton, Leah Hamilton, Pamm Baker, Paula Hood, Brenda Knight (founder), Dora Smith, Jasmin Brazeman. Photo courtesy of Diane Davis – LIR Photography.
It was a sea of red at the Golden Gate ballroom of the Concord Hilton Hotel on Saturday, February 3 at the Ladies in Red 22nd Annual Women’s Empowerment Luncheon. Founded by Brenda Knight, the organization provides motivation, education, and inspiration as tools for women to “Live and Love Life.”
With live entertainment by Top Shelf’s Jukebox and Dora Smith as mistress of ceremonies, ladies elegantly dressed in all red formal attire of shimmering fabrics, beaded gowns, fur wraps, and full length mink coats all accessorized in pearls, diamonds, and ornate red hats. Some were also authentically dressed in roaring 40s attire, with feathers in their hair and headbands.
The sold out event was packed to capacity with tables draped in black cloth and fountains of red and black feathers filling every corner. “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” blared from the stage as guests took to the dance floor. Gentlemen in tuxedos, dubbed as “The Men in Black,” served as escorts and volunteered throughout the event, ensuring all guests were treated as VIPs.
Two-dozen vendors lined the adjacent corridor of the ballroom featuring clothing from Mr. C’s Sophisticated Silk and Vanessa Winegan’s, Femme Beauty & Boutique among others.
Sponsor John Bishop of Ultra Business Services, shared how it has been an honor to have supported the Ladies in Red and Brenda Knight’s mission over the years. “Brenda has always been driven to help people and make a difference,” he said. “She is a great lady who has brought many people together.”
“As an urban male, during Black History Month, it is delightful to see this many black women aging in range from 15 to 90 embracing, empowering and uplifting each other,” said businessman Robert Arnold. “For Brenda to have done this for 22 years is amazing. I am happy to be here as a volunteer.”
Knight’s husband of 45 years, Harvey, says the event began with 30 women on July 28 of 1973. “Brenda began with 30 women at Geoffrey’s and the organization has grown to 1500 plus members,” he said. “Many women are divorcees, caregivers and they enjoy the sisterhood and getaways that Brenda organizes, like trips to New York or Washington, D.C. Seeing it all come together, is a great feeling every year.”
Knight’s son, Michael has been actively involved in assisting with the Ladies In Red since graduating from Washington State University as a Pac 12 baseball player. While he was drafted by the A’s, but not picked up, Michael has used his BA in Social Work and Psychology and credits his mother for his success. “Without my mom, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “Whatever my mother needs, as long as she needs it, I will be there for her. She is amazing and I completely support her, my father and the Ladies in Red mission.”
“This is such a great event that brings women together,” said Farmers Insurance agent, Frances Cohen. “We are proud to sponsor the Ladies in Red and support Brenda Knight’s vision.”
“I love the Ladies in Red event,” said pianist vocalist, Janice Maxie Reid.
Knight, a long-time educational advocate, made history in 2002, as the first African American woman to be elected as Chairman of the Board for the Association of Community Colleges Trustees. Currently, Knight inspires women as a public speaker and organizer of trips throughout the year.
“I just want to support and celebrate women and just as I always tell the crowd, ‘We love living and living life.’”
For more information visit: www.Bkladiesinred.com