Keynote speaker, criminal defense lawyer and television personality Rikki Klieman addresses honorees
Female business owners from across the borough sold everything from homemade cards to body lotion at Borough Hall on Monday, as Borough President Eric Adams hosted a women-owned business expo in celebration of Women’s History Month.
“I figured this would be a good place to display my business, get the word out,” said Dawn Jones, who owns the small business DJ’s Card Creator. “I do this on the side, but I would love to do this full-time.”
After the expo, the borough president held a ceremony honoring 16 female leaders in Brooklyn. He recounted a significant moment from his childhood, when a car of women drove up to his apartment with bags of groceries one Sunday when his mother couldn’t afford to feed his family.
When he looked through the boxes of food, Adams said, he realized all the boxes were only half full.
“The women didn’t have the means to buy groceries,” he said. “But they gave us half of what they had, went into their own cupboards and divided to make sure we were able to have enough to carry us over for another week. That is my relationship with the women of this city. They have often in a very dignified manner moved this city to a compassionate place.”
The night’s keynote speaker, criminal defense lawyer and television personality Rikki Klieman, said that it was a woman’s job to forge a path of success not just for themselves, but for future generations of women as well.
“No one is going to remember you when you go because of the hours that you worked,” she said. “No one is going to remember you because of the money that you made. But they will remember you for the contributions that you made.
“Teach a child,” she continued. “Teach an adult to read. Do something each day that makes you give service to humanity. You have a responsibility to all of the women who follow you.”
After the keynote address, the borough president honored female leaders across a wide variety of arenas. Dalia Shusterman and Perl Wolfe, who together make up the Crown Heights Hasidic alternative band Bulletproof Stockings, and who adhere to the prohibition of kol isha by performing to exclusively female audiences, said they were taken aback by the praise they had received since they founded the band three years ago.
“It totally caught us by surprise, “ said Wolfe, vocalist and keyboardist in the band. “We’re musicians, we didn’t think it would reach this far. To be honored by the borough president, that’s pretty awesome. And it's really awesome that women are responding in so many different places, so many different mediums.”
Honoree Pamela Esposito-Amery, CEO and co-founder of T.E.A.L., a foundation that promotes ovarian cancer awareness, said the celebration felt especially poignant as a born-and-bred Brooklynite.
“It’s great being honored with this group of women,” she said. “I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so this is a proud moment.”