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September 1, 2014

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Oprah Winfrey Wins 2010 Minerva Awards, Encourages Women To Use Their Power

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Oprah Winfrey has another award to add to her arsenal.

This one, though, has special meaning.

Some of the world's most powerful women descended on Long Beach, California yesterday for The Women's Conference 2010's Minerva Awards.

The two-day conference was established in1985 and is now being helmed by California First Lady Maria Shriver to empower women to be 'Architects of Change.' It culminates with the Minerva Awards, which honored five women in law, volunteerism, business and politics who are actively working to positively impact their communities.

This year's honorees included the billionaire media maven, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Humanitarian and prison counselor Sister Terry Dodge, Oakland community activist Oral Lee Brown and Carlolyn Blashek, whose Operation Gratitude nonprofit has delivered 550,000 care packages to service members deployed oversees.

Shriver noted that each woman was chosen for having "changed so many lives and encouraged and empowered countless more."

The HARPO chairman, who is celebrating her final year of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' was the night's last recipient to take the stage.

In her rousing acceptance speech, which brought the crowd to its feet, she thanked her close friend and conference organizer.

"I share this Minerva with my dear friend Maria for embodying and creating and manifesting in her own life the truest meaning of Minerva," she said. "We, all of us, in here all of us speak your name – we speak your name 'Maria Shriver' and we thank you for all of this."

She continued, "We thank you for bringing us all together for bringing us all to this family of women in one space to enlighten us and encourage us to keep on striving to keep on standing to keep on climbing to keep on working to keep on questioning to keep on searching to keep on supporting one another to keep on fighting to keep on hoping to keep on laughing to keep on dreaming to keep on giving to keep on being the best of who we are, and to keep on sharing the best that we have and the best that we have to offer with each other and to keep passing it on."

Winfrey advised the women in the audience to learn how to use their power.

"Every time you get talked about, you turn your head and keep on strutting, and you get a little stronger," Winfrey shared. "What I know for sure is it isn't enough to be powerful, but to know how to use that power" whether within the home, neighborhood, school, workplace and elsewhere.

O'Connor, 80, also engaged the crowd when the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, joked, "what you are seeing at the moment is probably the first and last time an unemployed cowgirl will receive a Minerva award."

First Lady Michelle Obama was also present and addressed the sold-out crowd briefly showing her admiration for the strength of military wives and the need to support military families.

"The truth is that there is so much more that each of us can do -– and should do -– right in our own communities," Obama said. "Because it's not enough just to be proud. It's not enough just to feel grateful. It's time for each of us to act. It's time for each of us to be an architect of change for these families in whatever way that we can."





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