Preparations have begun for the second annual Delilah Beasley Tea, to be held Sept. 15 in the garden at the Pardee Home Museum.

Arranging the program are the members of a group called Progressive Oakland Women for Empowerment and Reform, or POWER. This year, POWER is honoring Cora Tellez, the president and CEO of Sterling Health Services Administration, a company that specializes in administrating various kinds of health plans.

As founder of the company in 2004, Tellez and her team help consumers and employers to control health care spending and access the range of services they need.

Tellez also is being honored for her work as a community leader, especially with groups such as Filipino Advocates for Justice and Filipina Women's Network.

"We feel Ms. Tellez is an inspiring and exemplary role model for women who aspire to break the corporate ceiling but who also do not forget their roots," said Richelle Lieberman, a member of POWER.

This year's event also is recognizing 160-year-old Mills College. "(Mills) continues to provide a dynamic learning environment where a faculty of nationally and internationally respected scholars and artists are dedicated to developing the strengths of every student, particularly women," Lieberman said.

Kimberley L. Phillips, the provost at Mills, will be on hand to accept the POWER award.

The annual tea takes its name from Delilah Leontium Beasley (1871-1934), an Oakland journalist who was the first African-American woman to be published regularly in a major metropolitan newspaper -- the Oakland Tribune, Lieberman said.


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"She also wrote 'Negro Trail Blazers of California,' which was a pioneering work in the field of California black history," Lieberman said. "It is in her spirit that we host these teas."

Besides being a lovely setting for an afternoon tea party, the Pardee Home has tie-ins to both the health field and to Mills College. According to Ron Nielson, a docent and museum board trustee, two of the Pardee daughters -- Madeline and Helen -- attended Mills.

Enoch Pardee (1829-96) and his son, George (1857-1941) were medical doctors and served on the Public Health commissions of their day. Both also served as mayors of Oakland, and George would go on to be governor of California (from 1903 to 1907).

"After his term as governor, George Pardee came back to Oakland and helped establish our regional water district, EBMUD," Nielson said. "He had a life long interest in safeguarding a healthy public water supply."

The Pardee Home Museum is located at 672 11th St. Those attending the Sept. 15 event will be treated to teas and an assortment of pastries, sweets and savories, with chamber music and entertainment. Suggested donation is $15 per person, students with ID $5, and children under 12 free. Space is limited; call 510-444-2159 or email dbeasleytea@aol.com.