May 30, 2024
Citing "Barbie," Beyonce and Taylor Swift, Malia Cohen said women are accomplishing things today that would have been impossible 50 years ago.

When it comes to women’s empowerment, State Controller Malia Cohen covered all the bases in a powerful — and, at times, very funny — keynote address for the Women’s Equality Day Luncheon on Thursday.

Women’s Equality Day celebrates the adoption of the 19th amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, in 1920. This year’s event, held at LinkedIn’s headquarters in Mountain View, also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Santa Clara County’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Danielle Slaton, retired professional soccer player, is introduced by Nancy Bremeau, winner of the Woman of Impact Award given by the County of Santa Clara Commission on the Status of Women, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Mountain View, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Cohen took that as a launching point as she touched on the $1.4 billion box office success of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie and the massive concert tours by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift this summer. The Democrat even reached cross the aisle, rhetorically, to say former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley did an “excellent job” at the Republican primary debate the night before against a bunch of guys all dressed alike.

“These are women who are doing things that 50 years ago it would have been impossible,” Cohen said. “So for the work that we’re doing collectively, the policies we are advocating for, it’s making a difference. And it’s manifesting every single day in our lives right now, so that’s why we have got to stop and just give respect to the women who are doing it.”

Susan Ellenberg, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, emceed the luncheon, which drew a mostly-female crowd of about 200 people including a large contingent of elected officials from throughout the county, as well as San Jose State President Cynthia Teniente-Matson, South Bay Labor Council Executive Director Jean Cohen, Silicon Valley Education Foundation CEO Mary Ann Dewan and new Foothill De Anza Community College District Chancellor Lee Lambert.

Also at the luncheon, Danielle Slaton was presented with the Woman of Impact award. Slaton, who grew up in San Jose and went to Presentation High School and Santa Clara University, made a name for herself playing in the 2000 Olympics and the 2003 World Cup for the U.S. women’s national team. Today, she’s the board chair for the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) and has joined with former teammates Brandi Chastain, Aly Wagner and Leslie Osbourne to found Bay FC, a National Women’s Soccer League team that will play at San Jose’s PayPal Park beginning next year.

And even with that résumé, Slaton said she was humbled to receive the award in a room filled with deserving leaders.

“It is going to take all of us, in our little corner of the universe shouting from our megaphones in each respective place,” she said, “to make a difference and to continue to tackle the challenges we all know are going to be facing us in the next 50 years and beyond.”

PICTURE PERFECT: Mineta San Jose International Airport and San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs figured out a creative tie-in to Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour concerts this week at Levi’s Stadium.

“XO,” by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg, was dedicated at San Jose Mineta International Airport on Thursday, March 9, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

Airport officials are hoping that the BeyHive will swarm to SJC on the night of Aug. 29 to get a free, professional photo taken in front of the illuminated metal sculpture, “XO,” outside Terminal B. If you’re not a fan, Beyoncé had a song titled “XO” on her 2013 self-titled album. Photographer Dave Lepori will be on site to take photos of fans from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

CITY HALL SHOPPING: The Berryessa Flea Market Vendors Association has teamed up with the offices of San Jose City Councilmembers Dev Davis and Omar Torres to bring a little more visibility to its members, who are facing relocation or worse when most of the San Jose Flea Market is eventually redeveloped. But instead of protesting at City Hall, the vendors are going to do what they do best — sell fresh produce, blankets, clothing and crafts at Plaza Azul, a weekly farmers and arts market that starts Tuesday.

The market will take over City Hall plaza from noon to 3 p.m. every Tuesday — a day the San Jose Flea Market is closed — and in addition to providing another outlet for vendors, it’s also an attempt to encourage downtown workers and residents to get some steps in as part of Davis’ Blue Zone healthy communities initiative.

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By the way, the San Jose Flea Market on Berryessa Road is still open Wednesday through Sundays, and it looks right now like the earliest possible closing wouldn’t be until 2025 because of a one-year notice the property owners have promised the vendors.

SHOE PALACE TURNS 30: Serious fans of Shoe Palace probably know Agob Mersho started the company at the San Jose Flea Market, and the footwear retail giant is celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend back where it all began. Members of the founding family planned to attend Friday night’s celebration, which included a pop-up Vintage Market, giveaways and live music at Garden at the Flea, the event space at the Berryessa market.

The festivities continue Saturday and Sunday, too. JimmyD’s StoneCold Band is lined up to provide the tunes Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., and Sacred Fire Band, a Santana tribute group, is taking the stage Sunday from 1:15 to 4:30 p.m. The anniversary celebration also will be the first time the public can buy the latest shoe collaboration between Shoe Palace and adidas, which includes designs inspired by signage from the Berryessa flea market. Go to for more details.