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Women of Excellence Celebration Featured Speaker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 27 , 2007
Press Contact: Leslie K. Peay Heckman, Women’s History Event Coordinator (650) 991-8190

Daly City – Melba Pattillo Beals, a member of the Little Rock Nine and a Congressional Gold Medal winner is the featured speaker at Daly City’s 3rd Annual Women of Excellence Awards Celebration. The breakfast event begins at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, March 1, at Boulevard Café, 2 Poncetta Drive, Daly City. The theme of this year’s event is Generations of Women Moving History Forward – commemorating the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Ms. Beals was one of nine African American students who entered Central High on September 23, 1957 – several years after the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was illegal. Nevertheless, Beals and the other eight African American students were met by an angry mob of white protestors that morning. The Little Rock Nine’s courageous act went down in history as one of the defining moments of the American Civil Rights movement.

“We are excited to have Melba Beals as our special guest speaker,” said Leslie Peay Heckman, the event’s coordinator. “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine. It seems especially fitting that we commemorate the anniversary at our Women of Excellence Celebration.”

Beals, a celebrated author and journalist, lives in the Bay Area. She wrote the acclaimed book, Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock Central High School, recounting her experiences as a teenager at the center of the Civil Rights struggle. Her latest book, White is a State of Mind, is a sequel chronicling her life after the life changing Central High experience.

The Women of Excellence Awards Celebration is an annual event organized by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to honor the achievements of local women. This year women will be feted in four categories; Young Woman of Promise (14 to 21 years),

Woman of Excellence (21 years and older), Unsung Hero, and the posthumous Honorary Historical Award.

The Women of Excellence event will feature entertainment, historical trivia, and networking opportunities in addition to a buffet breakfast. For ticket information, contact the Daly City Parks and Recreation Department at (650) 991-8190.