2017 Purple Orchids, Survivors and Thrivers Brunch & Fundraiser
The event opened with a prayer from Sonya McKinzie’s daughter, McKinzie and family friends Felicia and Everton Scott. McKinzie then introduced the event’s master of ceremonies/host for the second year in a row and playfully joked with Mr. Felix Da Katt Paul as he approached the podium. Nefertiti Jaquez, journalist/reporter/blogger with WSBTV and an Emmy Award-winning journalist with a reputation for landing exclusive interviews was the co-host and a shining star. Jaquez and Paul made light to what would have been an extremely heavy subject matter with their crowd involving moments, humorous comments and antics throughout the event. Brunch was served at the beginning of the event and featured a silent auction/ vendor experience.
Simply T is both a six-time X-Poze-ing Music Award winner, a GA Music Award, and GANSPA’s Award nominee sang “Phenomenal Lady” which was followed by the keynote speaker introduction. McKinzie jokingly shared a brief story of how she came to meet/know Dr. Candice Cooper-Lovett, therapist, owner, and CEO of A New Creation Psychotherapy Services. Sonya came across her profile on LinkedIn and asked her to speak at Women of Virtue Transitional Foundation’s first event in 2016; after realizing there was a conflict in schedule, Dr. Cooper-Lovett was unable to speak at the event. When January 2017 rolled around McKinzie played her “I GOT YOU CARD” on Dr. Cooper-Lovett and asked her to speak. When Cooper-Lovett responded with a “Yes” McKinzie sent a follow-up email with her fingers crossed and asked her to be the keynote speaker and the rest of the story is history.
Dr. Candice Cooper-Lovett shared an amazing message about her personal experience with domestic abuse from a personal and professional standpoint. Her message was transparent, relatable and genuine. The attendees connected with Dr. Cooper-Lovett’s passion as it relates to domestic violence and her overall involvement in our communities. Dessert was served which was also catered by McKinzie’s mother – the selection of Italian Cream Cheese, Strawberry Cream Cheese, Lemon glazed and a simple pound cake went over very well with the attendees.
18 door prizes were given to attendees which included signature gift baskets, gift bags, the organization’s tee-shirts amid many other goodies. The silent auction featured gift baskets created by Sonya McKinzie and donations from amazing sponsors/donors Mixed Chicks Hair Care Products, Pike’s, Gwinnett Braves, Andretti’s Karting, Georgia Aquarium, Minero’s, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Medieval Times, Pink Zebra, Traci Lynn, Georgia Swarm LeCrosse, 7 Stages, Adventure Landing, College Football Hall of Fame, The Varsity, You’re on Film! Photography LLC (Malaina Hudson), Sights & Sounds Theatre, Atlanta History Center, Stone Mountain Park, Paparazzi (Pamela Perry), and MaryKay Cosmetics (Barbara Green).
Ann Casas, Marsy’s Law Georgia, educated the audience on why Marsy’s Law is important and pointed out a key factor “Georgia is only 1 of 15 states that have not yet protected crime victims rights at a constitutional level”. Her message was followed by a tear-jerking solo by Carla Sadler Compton and backup singers. Carla sang her rendition of Fantasia Barrino’s “Necessary” which was requested by Sonya McKinzie. The song touched many in the room as the message was closely tied to the trials and tribulations that many people go through on a daily basis but most importantly it connected the dots between the need for religion in the healing process in the survivorship process.
Partnership Against Domestic Violence’s (PADV) community advocate, Christine Vasquez shared the mission of their organization which is to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empowers its survivors. While Vasquez attended the event as a speaker, she lent a helping hand to McKinzie when she arrived and her willingness to be a servant gave further confirmation to WOVTF’s decision to support PADV’s holiday toy drive.
Sonya and her daughter, McKinzie presented a donation of $440 to PADV and presented Purple Ribbon awards to LaToya Denise, Ann Casas, Dr. Candice Cooper-Lovett and McKinzie’s endearing mother for their hard work and commitment to our communities. A portion of the organization’s proceeds will also be donated to the Salt-Light Center/Family Promise in Gwinnett to support their program and services.