Photo courtesy of Ladies First Astoria

A new women’s empowerment group looking to “uplift and inspire” women launches tonight at their sold-out party in Astoria.

Ladies First Astoria will be hosting its inaugural event from 8 to 11 p.m. at T Studio, located at 38-01 23rd Ave. #Suite 203. Astoria residents Renee Heitmann and Nicole Panettieri co-founded the organization in order to give women a place to build personal and professional relationships in the real world through inclusive social media, events, and group fundraising efforts.

Heitmann created Single Girl Cookies based on the mission to spread kindness throughout the community. She began to run into women in the neighborhood who were inspired by her message of kindness and female empowerment. She decided to pair up with Panettieri, who runs The Brass Owl,  ladies boutique that hosts fundraisers and female-run pop-up shops.

The women paired up and brainstormed ideas, and quickly came up with Ladies First Astoria, born out of their strong ties to Astoria and a shared desire to give back to the community.

The $30 tickets include unlimited beer or wine, appetizers from Queen’s Room in Astoria and desserts from Aloria Cakes and Single Girl Cookies. Event attendees will also get to enjoy a henna booth with pieces done by artist Henna Sav, tarot readings by Ostara Apothecary and a photo booth provided by The Meldez.

There will also be a raffle at the launch party, during which attendees will be able to bid on a variety of prizes from local vendors and beyond. All proceeds from the raffle will go to the Astoria-based charity the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans (CIANA) who help newly immigrated families from South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa integrate to life in America.

Queens native and State Senate Candidate Jessica Ramos will be the event’s special guest speaker. According to the founders, Ramos was chosen for her work toward the advancement of gender equality and the rights of immigrants, which embody the values of Ladies First Astoria.

Although tickets are sold out, more information about the event can be found here. Follow the organization’s Instagram @ladiesfirstastoria.

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