New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards and his mother, Malesa Plater of West Bloomfield Township, hosted the Women Moving Forward and Reaching Back Brunch at The Henry Ford’s Lovett Hall in Dearborn. More than 300 people came to the event, designed to educate, encourage and empower women of all backgrounds to reach their dreams, share their stories and help others along with their individual journeys.

Because the Braylon Edwards Foundation feels that female athletes are making tremendous strides in the world of sports and continue to be role models for young girls, the nonprofit organization decided to celebrate and recognize a group of impressive female sports stars at the June 19 event. Heading the list of lady jocks were Venus and Serena Williams, who unfortunately, were unable to attend. The sisters did send a lovely video graciously accepting the recognition, along with some personalized auction items.

Guests paid $125 to attend the event, which included an exciting silent auction that got so loud at one point the program had to be interrupted. ESPN correspondent Pam Oliver emceed and U.S. Gold Medal gymnast Dominique Dawes delivered an inspiring talk as guest speaker. In addition to the Williams sisters, honorees were Anne Doyle (one of the first female journalists allowed in a men’s locker room) and Dr. Shari Maxwell (ob-gyn at Oakwood Health System).

There were lots of tears when Edwards detoured from the planned program and presented his mother with a special award, adding that he is still sometimes in awe at how wonderful she is and how she continues to so generously help and give back to others. “She is by far the most amazing woman I know,” he said.

Proceeds from the brunch will benefit Think Detroit Pal.

Chuck Bennett is a Metro Detroit freelance writer and host of Style Minute, which airs twice daily on WGPR (107.5-FM).

From The Detroit News:

Photo Credit: Malesa Plater of West Bloomfield Township, left, was honored by her son Braylon Edwards, seen with honoree Taylor Esler, 15, of Detroit. (Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News)