Sixteen area women were honored for their community contributions Saturday night at the sixth annual Rosa M. Parks "Power of One" celebration at Broadway United Methodist Church.
The event was co-sponsored by the church and hosted by the Paducah McCracken Chapter of the NAACP. Its goal is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States and eliminate race prejudice.
Featured speaker at the event was Cherese Clark-Wilson, a Paducah native and founding partner of Clark, Lowry & Lumpkin, an Atlanta-based law firm. She has been recognized as a 2016 and 2017 Super Lawyer "Rising Star" of Georgia, is ranked as a "National Top 100 Black Lawyer" and was named a "2017 Top 10 Family Law Attorney."
Clark-Wilson said the premise behind the Power of One awards for Rosa Parks is to show that it takes only one person, one power of one to be able to effectuate change.
"Without Rosa not giving up her seat, Martin wouldn't have been able to march," she said. "My speech is really just about empowering people to be that one to be able to make change happen and how to do it."
Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless attended the event and spoke to the audience.
"I have been honored to meet several people who I would say are demonstrating their power of one, that's for sure," Harless said.
The 16 honorees, who were nominated from area churches, organizations and businesses, accepted gifts and recognition for their various contributions to the community.
Melissa Gott, family nurse practitioner from Paducah, was recognized for her dedication and commitment to taking care of the community through bariatric medicine and weight loss.
"It's very humbling, and I'm very much honored to receive this nomination," Gott said. "It's my calling, it's my passion. I was called at an early age to be a nurse. I love being able to change people's lives in a positive way and impact their families and the community."
Gott said she has been a nurse for 25 years and hopes to continue for 25 more.
The honorees and their sponsors include:
Sharolyn Johnson, Macedonia Baptist Church; Audrey Lee, AKA Sorority; Sally Michelson, Michelson Jewelry; Patricia Robinson, Rosary Chapel Woman's Ministries; Jessie Douglas, Broadway Methodist Church; Shirley Tyler, Burks Chapel Church Brotherhood; Martha Bell, McMurray & Livingston, PLLC; Mary Pettus, WC Young Community Center;
LaShunda Jones, Washington Street Church; Willie Mae Patterson, New Greater Love Church; Joann Overstreet, Pettus Funeral Home; Shirley Barlow, First Baptist Church; Janice Hudson, Harrison Street Church; Mattie Bryant, Mount Moriah Church; Mary White, Delta Sorority; and Melissa Gott and Dr. Anthony Davis, Baptist Health Paducah.