Women Celebrate Women at Black & Brown Women Rising Event

Diana Patton and Rhonda Kimmons

By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter

Local advocate Diana Patton organized an in-person celebration to acknowledge Black and Brown women. The bash was held at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion on January 6 and was called, ‘Black & Brown Women Rising.’

“It’s time to draw a line in the sand, we need to take care of our mental health as Black and Brown women. We need to stop hiding behind a mask and realize that we don’t need to have it all together,” shared Patton.

The sold-out ticket event began with socially distance networking, wine and appetizers for attendees and foot-stomping musical selections by DJ Dave Kevin Adams.

Rhonda Sewell, the Museum’s director of Belonging and Community Engagement, kicked off the gathering by welcoming guests and Museum Director Adam Levine, also delivered remarks. Local 21-year-old artist Loveli received a standing ovation after sharing her new song called ‘48 hours’ and Robert Edwards presented a poem called, ‘Black Queens.’ One of the event features was Rhonda Kimmons, the principal at Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls, receiving the Black and Brown Women Rising award.

“Let’s erase the stigma that surround Black and Brown women and mental health. Many people around the world, even our brothers, are seeking therapy to work through trauma. We all know that God can work it out, but therapy can help too,” shared Sewell.

“This is your museum of art and studies cite that walking through the museum is a way to destress,” shared Levine.

Diana Patton, founder of Rise with Diana and the Rise Advocates Academy, shared words of encouragement with the audience. She opened by explaining how COVID, George Floyd’s murder and social distancing connect to her diagnosis of depression.

“I had to get myself together. I suffered from anxiety but didn’t know that it was called anxiety. I couldn’t think or even function. When the doctor told me that my symptoms could be depression, I said no, not me. I have a book, an academy and social media followers. I didn’t want to take the prescribed depression medication because of the stigma of mental health. That’s why we’re here today, we’re not perfect and we need to stop hiding behind our masks,” shared Patton.

The event sponsors were Toledo Museum of Art, JumpStart, Diana Patton, Women of Toledo, and NAMI of Greater Toledo. Art graphics were designed by Israelle Nelson, the DJ was Dave Kevin Adams, an event video production was created by Creadio and the event photographer and videographer was Robert Cummerow. Event volunteers were Mary Brucker, Kyndra Gaines, Nina Border, Isabella Corder and Deborah Porter.