(BLOOMINGTON) – Mayor John Hamilton announced today that five local women will be honored for their outstanding service to the community during the local observance of Women’s History Month in March. Jessika Hane and Dr. Tashera Perry will receive the Woman of the Year Award. Beth Lodge-Rigal has been selected as the recipient of the Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award. Shatoyia Moss will receive the Emerging Leader Award and Solveig Hicks will receive the Young Woman of the Year Award. The recipients were selected by members of the Woman of the Year Selection Committee of the City of Bloomington’s Commission on the Status of Women.
The Woman of the Year and Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award recipients will be honored at the Women’s History Month luncheon Wednesday, March 25. The theme of this year’s event — “Valiant Women of the Vote” — celebrates the centennial of women’s right to vote and honors the women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and those who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.
The luncheon will feature a keynote speech by Elaine Weiss, a journalist and author whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, as well as in reports and documentaries for NPR and Voice of America. A MacDowell Colony Fellow and Pushcart Prize Editor’s Choice honoree, she is the author of the highly acclaimed narrative non-fiction book, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight for the Vote (2018) and Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army in the Great War (2008), the inspiring story of a long-forgotten women’s movement.
The Women’s History Month luncheon takes place on March 25th at the Monroe Convention Center (302 South College Avenue), beginning at 12:15 p.m. with doors opening at 11:15 a.m. for exhibition viewing. The cost is $25.00 per seat or $275.00 for a reserved table for eight; tickets must be purchased in advance through the BCT Box Office (114 E. Kirkwood Avenue) in person or online at bctboxoffice.org. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 23 at 5:00 p.m. Scholarships are available to ensure that the ticket cost does not present a barrier to attendance.
The Emerging Leader and Young Woman of the Year award recipients will be honored at the Women’s Leadership Development event on Saturday, March 28th at City Hall (401 N. Morton Street.) Registration and a light breakfast begin at 10 a.m. with the program beginning at 10:30 a.m., including a keynote speaker and the award presentations. This event is free and open to the public.
Women’s History Month serves as an opportunity to recognize individuals and collective accomplishments of women in our community. In addition, organizations for women and women-owned businesses will exhibit at the history luncheon. The exhibit reservation form is available at https://bloomington.in.gov/boards/status-of-women/womens-history-month.
Jessika Hann will receive the Woman of the Year Award for her service to mothers and children. Hann is the Director of Human Resources at Oliver Winery. She has served in leadership positions on the boards of multiple nonprofits in Bloomington including Cardinal Stage Company, where she served as Marketing Committee Chair and Board President, and the Community Foundation of Bloomington Monroe County, where she served as Scholarship Chair and co-chaired the successful Thrive By Five Endowment initiative. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
An active and passionate Rotarian, Hann is a 13-year member of the Bloomington Sunrise Rotary Club. In her club, she has served as Board Member, Fundraising Chair, and Club President in 2011-2012. She is currently the District Governor-Elect in District 6580 and will serve as District Governor in 2020-2021. She also serves as co-chair for year two of It Takes A Village-A Resource Fair for Parents, Infants, and Toddlers. A joint effort by the three Bloomington Rotary clubs, this event provides one-stop-shop access to resources, education, and supplies for parents in Monroe County.
Dr. Tashera Perry will also receive the Woman of the Year Award for her dedication to women’s health. Dr. Perry serves as staff physician and Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology for the Indiana University School of Medicine, Medical Science Program, and an advocate for women’s health in a variety of positions both locally and nationally. Within the IU Health system, locally, Dr. Perry has served as Clinical Informatics Physicians Advisor, Physician Sponsor for the OB/GYN Clinical Effectiveness Council, and as representative for the Women’s CORE uplift Governance Council. On a state and national scale, she serves as Fellow for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Member of the American Medical Association; Representative for the Indiana State Medical Society; and ISMA Alternate Delegate for the Monroe Owen County Medical Society.
The Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award recipient, Beth Lodge-Rigal was selected for her visionary work with Women Writing for (a) Change, a creative writing program that empowers women to discover their individual voice. As the founder (2004) and creative director of Women Writing For (a) Change, Lodge-Rigal’s leadership and vision over the past 15 years has impacted countless women in the community. By 2012, this social purpose business merged into the not-for-profit Writing for a Change Foundation, Bloomington. In addition to facilitating writing circles, outreach, retreats, and directing programs at the Bloomington school, she has designed and implemented next-generation Conscious Feminine Leadership Training in both Cincinnati, Ohio, and in Bloomington for women who are hungry to learn new paradigms for leadership in the 21st century. Leaders emerging under her guidance create ever-widening circles of empowered voice, vision, action, and compassion for our community and the larger world.
Shatoyia Moss, the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award, is the Safe and Civil City Director at the City of Bloomington. Moss is receiving the Emerging Leader Award for her work, including the creation of the inaugural Black Girl Summit in November 2019. The summit convened over 100 middle- and high school-aged girls and featured workshops dedicated to empowering young women of color. Moss is chairwoman of Delta Sigma Theta’s Delta Gems program and Academy program and a mentor to three young women, one working as an athletic director in Okinawa, Japan, as well as an IU student majoring in Speech and Hearing Science and an employee at Cook Incorporated in Bloomington.
Solveig Hicks is the inaugural recipient of the Young Woman of the Year Award, created to recognize a woman between the ages of 11 and 18 who have already impacted girls’ and women’s issues in the community. Hicks is the president of Young Democrats at Bloomington North High School and founded the school’s National Organization for Women chapter. In June 2019, she was the primary organizer of the North-South High School reproductive rights rally to protest abortion bans being passed around the country. In 2017, Hicks helped spearhead the successful Tri-North Middle School protest of the school’s dress code which, according to the protestors, reinforced the idea that girls are sexual objects, discriminated against certain body types, took away from learning time, humiliated girls, and promoted rape culture.