By: Michelle Harmon
On a beautiful brisk Saturday morning, cars pulled up to the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center in Mims for the anticipated event of the month — Majes-TEA Party. Women from the Democratic Party, the National Congress of Black Women and female engineers from NASA , along with women from Daytona Beach, Orlando, Melbourne and the city of Mims walked up to the gazebo with their white pearls, gloves, dresses and beautifully adorned hats for a photo shoot with a back drop of live fresh flowers captured by Ms. Janay Bookhart. The melodies of Saxophonist Mr. 2Lay of Mims serenaded the escorted guests, as the women and men sashayed onto the red carpet before being taking their reserved seats. DJ Jeff Davis provided the ambient sounds. The tables and chairs were blanketed with white coverings accented with cherry blossom sashes. The guests were greeted with scones, mini muffins and pastries, cake and tea sandwiches. They had a choice of three delicious teas: Yummy Berry, Field of Dreams, and Mint.
Majes-TEA was held in celebration of Women’s History Month on March 25, 2017. The theme for National Women’s History Month honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. Women have always worked, but often their work has been undervalued and underpaid stated the Keynote Speaker, Ms. Venetta Valdengo, Assistant County Manager. Ms. Valdengo captivated the guests with a portion of the rendition of “Phenomenal Woman” by the late- great Maya Angelou, and stopped mid-section to tell us about her childhood and how her father played an important role in her life. A registered nurse by trade, she always knew she wanted to be in leadership and understood the importance of working hard. She spoke to the guests like a surgeon performing a heart transplant…so precise to the hearts of the guest, as she informed us of the stark inequalities she faced in the workplace (lower wages than counterparts) and how she had to fight to make the workplace a less hostile environment for women. Ms. Valdengo proved that women could succeed in every field they put their hands to work in, and she has proven that women should never give up. She stressed to the guests that quitting is never an option, but perseverance, tenacity, and dedication is the key. Most importantly, she has paved the way for generations of women labor and business leaders to follow. Ms. Valdengo bellowed, “Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, it ought to make you proud.” She spoke to the hearts and minds of the guests, as Ms. Patsy Ruppenthal Porter passed out diamonds and pearls of wisdom to the guests as keepsakes.
As the rain started to pour and the women were on their 3rd cup of tea, some of the women there had very thought- provoking questions for the speaker. After all of the questions were asked….we can narrow down the response to simply this…“Phenomenal Woman…that’s me.”