(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton announced the names of three women to be honored for their outstanding service to the Bloomington community during the local observance of Women’s History Month in March.
Women’s History Month serves as an opportunity to recognize the individual and collective accomplishments of women in the Bloomington community.
Penny Caudill will receive the Woman of the Year Award, Cathleen Ingle Weber has been selected as the recipient of the Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award, and Abby Ang will receive the Emerging Leader 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.
“Congratulations to these powerful members of our community, who’ve done so much to lift up and take care of others over the course of their careers,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Especially during this devastating pandemic year, their tireless, selfless work has resulted in better outcomes for all of us and set a glowing standard of community leadership.”
The three award recipients will be honored at a virtual Women’s History Month Celebration event which will premiere on Wednesday, March 24 at noon on the City of Bloomington Facebook.
The theme of the event, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced,” 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 voting rights of others.
Along with the award presentation, the event will feature addresses by Heather McTeer Toney and Dr. Valerie Grim.
Heather McTeer Toney served as the first African American, first female and youngest mayor of Greenville, MS. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Regional Administrator for Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast Region from 2014-2017. Known for her energetic and genuine commitment to people, her work has made her a national figure in public service, diversity and community engagement. Ms. Toney led the Moms Clean Air Force field team for two years and worked on local government policy initiatives and the Moms & Mayors program. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Atlanta and a law degree from the Tulane University School of Law. Heather is currently serving as an environmental justice liaison for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Dr. Valerie Grim is a professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. She researches and publishes in the area of twentieth- and twenty-first-century African American rural history. A nationally and internationally recognized scholar, she has lectured throughout continental North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Currently, she has completed (with publication pending) a manuscript, Between Paternalism and Self-Determination: Rural African American Life at Brooks Farm, Mississippi. Her current co-edited book project, Unleashing Suppressed Voices on College Campuses: Diversity Issues in Higher Education is due for release spring 2021. She continues her research and writing on other projects and has published widely in leading journals and well received anthologies. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for scholarship, teaching, and service.
Penny Caudill, Woman of the Year Award recipient, currently serves as the Monroe County Health Department Administrator. Penny has served the community for decades but has gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caudill has provided significant support to the community by leading the charge for the COVID-19 response in the following ways, among others:
- Serving on the Monroe County Community School Corporation COVID-19 Response Team
- Working with IU fraternities and sororities to stop the spread of COVID 19
- Providing strategic direction on the roll-out of COVID-19 testing, public health education campaigns, and vaccine distribution
Cathleen Ingle Weber, Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award recipient, has worked tirelessly on behalf of vulnerable and/or underrepresented members of the community. The LGBTQIA+ ally, mentor, social worker, activist, adjunct professor, and founder of a woman-owned business has dedicated her life to supporting people living with dementia and their families. Ingle Weber has worked as a social worker at IU Health Bloomington Hospital since 2003 and has also supported the community in the following capacities:
- Served as Director of IU Health Bloomington Hospital Alzheimer’s Resource Center
- Founder and Director of Better Day Club – an innovative day program for people with Alzheimer’s
- 2016 Recipient of the Girls Inc. Bold Award for her contributions in the community that support and inspire girls to be “strong, smart, and bold”
- In 2011, co-founded FairTalk to fight against HJR-6, the proposed constitutional amendment that would have permanently banned any legal recognition of same sex relationships, including marriage
Abby Ang, Emerging Leader Award recipient, is the Founder and Lead Organizer of Monroe County Area Mutual Aid, established in March 2020 as a way to provide much needed resources to the Bloomington community. The Monroe County Area Mutual Aid Facebook group now has over 6,000 community members and works to assist those who have experienced challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic. Ang’s leadership roles include the following:
- 2020-present Board Member and Advisor, Enough Bloomington
- 2020-present Planning Committee Member, People’s Cooperative Market
- 2020-present Founder and Lead Organizer, Monroe County Area Mutual Aid
- 2020-present Vice President, Monroe County National Organization for Women
- 2019-present Founder and Lead Organizer, No Space for Hate
- 2019-present Leadership Member, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum – Indiana Chapter
- 2018-present Vice Precinct Chair, Perry 26
For additional information about the Women’s History Month Celebration or sponsorship opportunities for the event, contact Commission on the Status of Women liaison Sue Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org.