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Empowering Women, Uniting Communities: A Celebration of Culture and Resilience

The highly anticipated 4th Annual International Women Celebration on March 30th was a very successful event, bringing together remarkable women from diverse backgrounds to commemorate their achievements, share their stories, and foster a spirit of unity and empowerment.

Held at the vibrant Saigon Center in Chandler, Arizona, the evening was a stunning showcase of cultural richness, featuring captivating traditional performances. From the mesmerizing Korean drum performance to the soulful rendition of the American National Anthem by Razel Zapanta, the event celebrated the incredible talents flourishing within our communities.

The night’s honorees, recognized as “Women of Distinction,” embodied resilience, leadership, and an unwavering commitment to positive change. Among them was Richelle Miller, a trailblazing Filipino-American nurse practitioner and activist, whose advocacy work and marathon running to raise funds for charity have inspired countless individuals.

Charmel Dela Cruz, IWC Co-Chair, awards Dr. Richelle Miller (DNP) with 2024 Women of Distinction Award during this year’s International Women Celebration (Chandler, AZ)

Emcees Jessica Parsons and David Waltzer set the tone for an energetic evening of celebration and reflection. The organizers, including co-chairs Rhia Luz and Charmel Dela Cruz, played pivotal roles in bringing this event to life, working tirelessly to amplify women’s voices and stories across communities.

Rhia Luz, a first-generation Filipina American and the Vice-Chair, shared her powerful story of resilience raising three daughters as a nurse. Her life personifies the spirit of empowerment through community.

Charmel Dela Cruz, the event’s co-chair, leads by example through her work with children’s programs in the Philippines and local humanitarian missions with Arizona Lions. Her commitment to helping others shines through.

As the night rolled on, a variety of spellbinding cultural performances enthralled the audience, including dances by Minh Nguyen, XiaoChen Duan, Jingyu Luo, and the rhythmic sounds of the AZ Vietnamese Choir. The Parade of Cultures showcased beautiful traditional attire from Bangladesh, China, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Haiti, vividly celebrating diversity in unity.

Inspirational speaker Karrin Taylor Robson’s words resonated: “Together, we can create a world where every woman’s voice is heard and every dream is possible,” igniting determination and hope.

The International Women Celebration has become a major force for empowerment and unity that crosses cultural lines, building a community that extends well beyond this annual event. As visionary founder and chair Mai Le shared, “This isn’t just about honoring the past, but inspiring future generations of women to fearlessly chase their dreams and break barriers.”

After this amazing event, the celebration’s work uplifting Arizona’s women continues through upcoming initiatives like the Women’s Health Expo and Back-to-School Drive. This organization truly shows how powerful unity, resilience and determination can be.

As the night wrapped up, excitement and empowerment filled the room, capturing the enduring spirit of women worldwide. The International Women Celebration has cemented itself as a real inspiration, reminding us that when we celebrate our diversity and lift each other higher, anything’s possible.

Jennifer Del Mar Lewis

Jennifer is an experienced business development consultant with a focus on small businesses, marketing, and promotional products. She holds notable standing within the Filipino community having actively led and contributed to a range of community endeavors and disaster relief initiatives in past years. Jennifer has previously served as Chair of the Council of Filipino Organizations of Arizona (CFOAZ) and presently fulfills the role of Public Relations for the same organization. She is also a Co-founder and current President of the Filipino American Marriage Group of Arizona (FAMAZ). In addition to these key roles, Jennifer plays an influential part in the Filipino American community, holding positions such as Public Relations for the Arizona Chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), and being a member of the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC). She also serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for the Filipino American Business Chamber of Commerce of Arizona (FABCCA) and is Secretary of the Phoenix One World Global Artists Lions Club (POWGALC).

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