Writer: Nefeteria Brewster
Published March 7, 2023
As a mother and working professional, Yolanda Barber knows the significance of sharing wisdom and knowledge to all she encounters. The Stockbridge mayor pro tem shared that it is a trait inherited from her mother.
“My own mother was a role model of class, faith and love,” Barber said.
Barber and 15 other women who have been trailblazers across Henry County received additional honors during an annual Women’s History celebration on Sunday, March 5.
The other Women’s History Month Award honorees included special recognition for Aubrey Kekiwi with Southern Grace Hospice, Ga. House Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, Laura Luker with Henry Convention & Visitors, Laurona Phelps with New Faith Christian Church, Dr. Erica McCrae, Melissa Ellis, Allison Randall Berewa and Henry County Communications Director Melissa Robinson.
The 8th annual Celebrating Women event, hosted by Councilman Elton Alexander, was held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Merle Manders Conference Center located at 111 David Road in Stockbridge.
The recognition is an honor for Barber as she continues in her efforts as a member of the Stockbridge City Council. Her achievements for the 2023 year began with a Certificate of Excellence from the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute, a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, which she accepted in January during the Georgia Municipal Association’s Cities United Summit in Atlanta.
To receive the prestigious Certificate of Excellence, a city official must complete a minimum of 120 units of credit, including at least 54 hours from a list of required courses and the Robert E. Knox Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute. The training program consists of more than 70 courses.
Sunday’s honor is a bridge to the District 4 council woman’s ambitions to fill needs within the growing community.
“I am honored to be recognized for Women’s History Month,” Barber said Tuesday. “This acknowledgment holds value for me as a woman who has known some pretty amazing women,” she added.
“Let’s celebrate the many dynamic women in all arenas. We have some terrific women in our communities.”
The honorees for the March 5 event have all broken the glass ceiling in their careers, Alexander said. Other honorees included the Henry Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. as the Community Organization of the Year, Michael and LaTaucha Harris, the parents of Braves Star Michael Harris II, and Tereon and Will Anderson, the parents of Alabama Football Star Will Anderson Jr., as the Mother’s Love and Father’s Love Honorees. Eight officers with the Stockbridge Police Officers were also recognized as recipients of the Special Glass Ceiling Award.
“We give trailblazing women their flowers now to share in our appreciation for their work in the community at my 2023 Women’s History Month,“ Alexander said. “The glass ceiling was broken by our honorees and the community at large was the beneficiary moving the needle for progress.”
The keynote speaker for the annual event was Sandra Vincent, mayor of McDonough, and the Mistress of Ceremonies was TV host Portia Bruner. The theme for the annual event was “Celebrating The Women Who Tell Our Stories.” The theme resonates deeper with me, Vincent said.
“The theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives to pursuing truth and reflecting society in all forms of media,” Vincent said. “It validates and celebrates the lives of everyday women who through their life stories have given us a road map for success and strength.”
The McDonough mayor advised the attendees to stand firm in their existing positions.
“Don’t shy away from your personal story,” Vincent said. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
“When we look in the mirror we should see the stories of our the key women in our lives who through perseverance have influenced and shape us into the successful women that we are,” Vincent said. “Everyone at some level is a success for we have all overcome and triumphed at something.”
The annual event, held in March each year, has been an endeavor of great value to Alexander.
“Spearheading the first Women’s History Month Proclamation in all of Henry County history in 2016 remains one of my proudest moments in public service,” Alexander said.
“We honor women 365 days a year in Stockbridge. We proudly bring historic recognition to our heroes in March for Women’s History Month.”