Maria Taylor of NBC Sports moderates with Sonja Stills, Tara Owens and Alecia Shields-Gadson during the Essence Black Women in Sports Brunch at the West Side Cultural Arts Center on Friday, December 16, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

ESSENCE hosted the Black Women in Sports Awards Brunch as part of the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 16 at the Westside Cultural Arts Center in Midtown!

The ESSENCE Black Women in Sports franchise hosted an Awards Brunch in partnership with Coca-Cola to spotlight and honor leading women in the sports industry, both professional and collegiate ranks. ESPN’s Elle Duncan was the mistress of ceremonies and DJ Traci Steele was on the decks spinning the records!

Award honorees included:

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●        Sanya Richards-Ross – former Jamaican-American track & field athlete who’s a two-time Olympic champion and two-time Olympic medalist

●        Sonja Stills – the first female commissioner in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the first female commissioner of a Division I HBCU Conference

●        Delaware State University Lacrosse Team – for overcoming adversity as a result of the aftermath due to their recent unjust traffic stop

ESSENCE CEO Caroline A. Wanga emphasized during her opening remarks that the brunch will not be solely about equity with respect to a deficit or missing things.

“We got this,” Wanga said. “What the equity piece is about, is making sure that the audacious goals that she has, there’s an understanding that there are particular doors that are intentionally locked. She doesn’t need help coming up with a bow. She just needs the key and she needs you to let her keep it versus regulate how she can get in and out of it. So that she can unleash that last phase of what she wants to do.”

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...