Women's showcase to recognize five for contributions to community

Mar. 11—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — his event will honor women for paving the way for younger generations.

The African American Heritage Society Inc. will co-host the Style & Grace Women's Showcase from 3 to 6 p.m. March 18 at Bottle Works, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

The inaugural event will celebrate Women's History Month and recognize women of color.

"The reason I chose to honor local women of color is to give the opportunity for millennials to start having a voice in what and who we believe needs added to the collection of the local African American achievements and history stored at the African American Heritage Society Inc.," said Mercedes Barnette, event coordinator. "It's our time to be heard.

"By us starting with thanking those who helped pave a way for us is simply style and grace."

The community was given the opportunity to nominate the honorees.

They needed to meet the criteria of being a woman of color who is at least 50 years of age, self-employed, reside/volunteer in Cambria County, demonstrate sustained excellence and creative contributions to the community, promote a positive attitude and high moral in work, aid in helping other women demonstrate qualities of a role model and have a minimum of 10 years of experience in their specified field with contributions to the community.

Barnette said they received 15 nominations, and the event committee narrowed that down to five women.

"All of the women nominated by the community fit the requested criteria," she said.

"The five chosen to be honored at this event were either humble enough to accept being honored by us, or something special about them convinced the Style & Grace Committee that this is their time."

The honorees selected are Sylvia Carr, Antoinette Carter, Josephine Gray, Marsha McDowell and Tina McGauley.

"I'm aware that there are other women who deserve their flowers, so there will definitely be another event like this soon," Barnette said.

"The committee teased me because I wanted to honor all of them, but this gives us the motivation that we need to keep doing this."

Each woman will receive a plaque and their biography will be read.

The event will be hosted by Blossom Nicole, a poet from Pittsburgh and owner of Poetry and Me, who will do poetry readings.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Smooth Sound Band and local artists Sidnee Baxter and Kim King.

In addition, there will be a fashion show featuring garments by MSB Designs and Dreams and make-up assistance by IVYSBEATS.

Refreshments will be catered by Latay's Cuisine, with decorations by Enjoi Events and More and photography by Jackie Gunby. Rachel Allen will read from her book.

Merchandise vendors will also be on hand.

"This whole event is such a community effort, and everybody was able to come together and do something and contribute their talent," Barnette said.

Event sponsors include the NAACP Johnstown Branch, 1 Pasquerilla Plaza, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber, Greater Johnstown Community YMCA and healing arts practitioner Rachel Allen/YogaSong.

Proceeds will benefit the African American Heritage Society Inc.

Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger, and must be purchased in advance.

They can be purchased by emailing stylegraceshowcase@gmail.com.