March 14, 2024

A Time Of ‘Liminality’: A Day For Women Returns

Last year, organizers of the inaugural A Day for Women event celebrated a hugely successful turnout that included 33 community sponsors and the support of 284 locals, the majority of which were women.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain in Wheatland hosted the event at a discounted rate in honor of its own "Women in Leadership" program. Jackie Sillman, the matriarch of this endeavor and chair of the A Day for Women planning committee, said the event was meant to celebrate and honor women in lieu of Women's History Month, which is March.
"It was the most organic thing I've ever done in my life," said Sillman excitedly. "I just pulled a bunch of gals that I adore and said, 'you know what, women's history month in this community doesn't get the attention it needs,' so we decided to try and kick off an event on the first weekend in March and that's exactly what happened."
The event was not initially meant to be a fundraiser, all proceeds were expected to offset the costs of planning, food, and reservations. However, a $5,000 surplus led to the establishment of the Meraki Award, a grant meant to offer financial support to one local female pursuing their dream of business ownership. The very first Meraki Award will be announced on Saturday during the next A Day for Women event at Hard Rock.
"At this point now, moving forward, we want to be able to make enough to facilitate a $5,000 scholarship each year," said Sillman. "It wasn't originally planned that way, but that's what happened. We'd love to continue the Day for Women knowing that we can support a woman in business."
A Day for Women will again include an opening "sip and shop" opportunity where guests can enjoy some beverages and browse amongst a variety of vendors that have been chosen with "women in mind." Sillman said all of the featured vendors are women-owned businesses, which helps bring the focus and support of the event full circle.
The itinerary will include a light lunch and opening remarks from Tawny Dotson, Yuba Community College's current president. Dotson will speak on her upbringing in the South, her determination to pursue a college degree, and her brief career in the military before going into education. Following Dotson's address "Not exactly a diamond in the rough," the crowd will welcome Mari K. Eder, a retired major general of the United States Army and author of "The Girl Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II."
Eder served as the deputy chief of the United States Army Reserve and deputy chief of United States Army Public Affairs prior to being appointed commanding general of the United States Army Reserve Joint and Special Troops Support Command. She retired from the Army in 2013, but still spends time traveling, writing, and giving motivational speeches.
"One of my former colleagues from the Army working at the Pentagon is DeDe Cordell who works with Yuba Water," said Eder. "She recommended me to Jackie SiIlman and we arranged for me to come out for this event."
Eder is a resident of Virginia in the Washington, D.C., area. Her newest book focuses on the women of World War II and her speeches have begun to explore the ways in which their contributions have influenced women in today's society.
"In essence we do stand on their shoulders," said Eder. "For me with a military background, it was because of the 350,000 women who volunteered to put on a uniform during the war. ... Because of how they performed and the contributions they made it became permanent."
The speech Eder is planning for the Day for Women event will lean into the concept of "liminality," or the "in between" phase experienced after periods of great upheaval.
"Changes are possible, but they're not here yet," explained Eder. "We're not going backwards and we haven't yet moved forward, and that will be my theme for this."
Saturday's event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hard Rock but all tickets have already been claimed. Similar to last year, organizers said the event sold out within two weeks of being announced with a total of 308 people planning to attend and 17 different sponsors.
Aside from the Meraki Award, other recognitions will be handed out to several local women for their various contributions and impacts in the community. These will include the Women in Leadership Award, Live Your Dreams Award, Athena International, and the Women Who Rise Award. Organizers plan to announce these special honorees to the public on the following Tuesday.
"This is just a day for us to celebrate the women in the past and where we're at now and how we uplift the ones that are going to be heading out and taking care of us into the future," added Sillman.
For more about the A Day for Women event and planning committee, visit the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce website and navigate to the drop down menu under the "Events" tab, or click here.