'Sheroes' tea party celebrates black women

Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2013, 11:31 pm
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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com
Deborah Teague's life has been dedicated to children.

The retired teacher, who lives in Davenport, spent 36 years as an educator in the Davenport School District.

Her work with area youth was, in part, why Ms. Teague was one of 11 "Sheroes" honored Saturday at A Gathering of Women's seventh annual Tea Party at The Holiday Inn in Rock Island.

Throughout her career, Ms. Teague said she has taught kindergarten through 12th grade at a variety of schools throughout the district.

"I loved every single second of it," she said."It's been a wonderful life as a teacher. I was just born to do that."

Over the past six years, A Gathering of Women has honored more than 70 black women for their work in the Quad-Cities community.The nonprofit organization calls its honorees "Sheroes," which organization founder and member, Shirleen Martin, of Davenport, said are "women who know the true definition of being a woman."

The event is "truly a tea party," Ms. Martin said. Saturday's celebration came complete with tea, coffee, cakes and other little sweets.

According to Ms. Martin, the tea "focuses on the African-American women in our community -- women who are everyday heroes."

No one needs another person to validate them, Ms. Martin said; people do that on their own. But the annual event offers the opportunity to tell others they are appreciated, she said, which "helps us with self-esteem."

It's a day for gals to get dressed up, a day of "truly big fun," Ms. Martin said.

"This is our event," she said."(We're) only doing it for ourselves."

The tea continues to grow, Ms. Martin said, getting "better and better" every year.The first event was attended by about 100 women; Saturday's event hosted more than 250, requiring organizers to add tables to the ballroom at the hotel.

The partyalso featured several speakers and performances, including a dance to India Arie's "Beautiful Flower" by the "Daughters of Praise" dancers from the Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, in Rock Island, as well as a matriarchal tribute to four women who are over the age of 90.

They've "been through the storm," said A Gathering of Women member, Tyla Cole.

Ms. Cole said the tea party is for the "empowerment for African-American women in the Quad-Cities.

"I think that we need to teach our young," Ms. Cole said. "We need to leave behind a legacy."

Ms. Teague described the tea party as a wonderful gathering of women and said she was very honored by the selection.The event, she said, was a homecoming for her, a family reunion.

"Women are each other's greatest support," she said.

The 2013 "Sheroes"

Honorees at A Gathering of Women's "Sheroes" celebration this year included:

-- Ida M. Robinson

-- Deborah Teague

-- Margaret W. Woods

-- Bettina McWilliams

-- Nicole Watson-Lam

-- Lucille McCorkle-Davis

-- Ida Johnson

--Mary Grove Jackson

-- Tsitsi Bergman

-- Callie Parks

-- Teresa A. Moore


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