This is a public blog featuring the accomplishments of members of Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter.  The content on this page is read-only.  

  • 23 Feb 2016 5:25 PM | Anonymous

    New Haven NAACP celebrates stamp for black church founder

    New Haven Register, February 18, 2016

    By Ed Stannard, New Haven Register

    Greater New Haven Branch NAACP First Vice President Anthony Dawson, left, and President Dori Dumas, center, assist New Haven Postmaster Tom Sullivan unveil the USPS 39th commemorative edition Black Heritage stamp of Bishop Richard Allen during a ceremony at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in New Haven Thursday.

    NEW HAVEN - For the Rev. Orsella Cooper-Hughes, the new Bishop Richard Allen postage stamp brings together her family history with her faith as a member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  

    Her father, Daniel Cooper, worked in the U.S. Postal Service for 40 years and, as she told the members of the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP Thursday night, “I am A.M.E.-born, A.M.E.-bred, and when I die I’ll be A.M.E.-dead.”

    Cooper-Hughes, associate minister at Bethel, spoke at the unveiling of the new 49-cent “forever” stamp at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She was still brimming with excitement because she and her father traveled to Philadelphia on Feb. 2 for the stamp’s first-day ceremony at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, which Allen founded 200 years ago so that African-Americans would have a church in which to worship freely.

    “This to me was like Independence Day, this was like Christmas morning as far as I was concerned,” she said of the trip.

    Allen, who was born in slavery in 1760, led the black members out of St. George’s Methodist Church, where they were forced to sit in the balcony, to found their own church in 1787. It became the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816, the first denomination not founded for theological reasons.

    As Robert Gibson, a retired teacher at James Hillhouse High School, said, “In this case, the reason for the rise of the A.M.E. Church was American racism. If those Christians in that church (St. George’s) had acted like real Christians, then the blacks and the whites could have fellowshipped together.”

    While Sunday morning is often called the most segregated time of the week, Gibson said, “It didn’t have to be that way. Because what happened in St. George’s Church happened across the country.”

    Gibson talked about Allen’s legacy as a slave who bought his freedom for $2,000, worked as an abolitionist and on the Underground Railroad. “He was really dedicated to preaching the gospel … building up his community, developing his community. … What was really remarkable about him was that he had no bitterness,” Gibson said.

    Instead, he founded a denomination that has 7.5 million members in 39 countries and in 12,000 congregations. In Philadelphia, “they formed the first independent black denomination in the world,” Gibson said. “From that founding in 1816 the church grew, spread around the world.”

    Dori Dumas, president of the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP and a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church on Goffe Street, said Allen is not just “significant and important to the A.M.E. Church. … We felt it was very important that we share this with the greater community.”

    New Haven Postmaster Tom Sullivan said the Richard Allen stamp is the 39th in the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage series. “What I love about black history is it brings to the youth the history I think we lose,” adding that the Allen stamp in particular represents “the tribulations and the triumphs (of) 7.5 million A.M.E. members throughout the world.”

    Bethel A.M.E. Church also plans a celebration of the stamp at its 10 a.m. Sunday service, after which the stamp will be available for sale.


  • 19 Mar 2015 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean co-authored a report critical to understanding the impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the future of voting rights.  The report provides data on minority voter turnout, racially polarized voting, policy outcomes by race, and the number of minority-elected officials from the enactment of the Voting Rights Act until today.  Click here to read the full report: 50 Years of the Voting Rights Act: The State of Race in Politics.

    She presented the report in Selma, Alabama in honor of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  A story about her Journey to Selma is available in the Inner City News and reprinted here.

    Dr. Brown-Dean recently received tenure status as an Associate Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

  • 19 Mar 2015 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    Announcement from the Yale University Comer School Development Program:

    Two Comer schools are the focus of an inspiring new documentary, 180 Days: Hartsville that aired on PBS (check local listings) in March of 2015.  The two-hour special was co-produced by South Carolina ETV and National Black Programming Consortium with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of "American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen," a public media initiative to stem the dropout crisis by supporting community-based solutions.

    180 Days: Hartsville is a panel discussion that includes an interview with Dr. Camille Cooper, the Comer School Development Program's Director of Teaching, Learning, and Development, who is leading the implementation of the Comer model in Hartsville.  

    Click here to learn more about 180 Days: Hartsville.

  • 19 Mar 2015 9:53 AM | Anonymous

    Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter congratulates Dori Dumas on being showcased by the Yale University's Working Women's Network (WWN).  The WWN provides programs and resources to Yale University's women employees, and champions the exploration and pursuit of personal and professional goals in order to enhance their individual success while also furthering the advancement of the university.  Click here to read Mrs. Dumas' spotlight interview.  

  • 30 Nov 2014 12:18 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Jacquelyn Y. Taylor, associate professor of nursing at the Yale School of Nursing, is the first woman of color to earn tenure since the nursing school's 91 year history.  She was also recently awarded a $3.4 million grant to conduct a 5-year study on high blood pressure in African-American women and their young children, titled "Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure." 

    Related news articles:

    YSN Associate Professor Awarded National Institute of Nursing Research Grant

    Identifying the Causes of a Persistent Health Disparity: High Blood Pressure
    Among African-Americans

    Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure

  • 05 Oct 2014 9:24 AM | Anonymous

    New Haven NAACP’s 1st elected female President Dori Dumas called a ‘born leader’


    NEW HAVEN>> After nearly a century of existence for the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP, Dori Dumas shattered the glass ceiling this summer, becoming the first elected female president of a chapter that was established in 1917.

    Now several months into her term, Dumas, 50, said the critical issues facing people of color are employment opportunities, home ownership and transportation.

    “Transportation is a huge issue in the city. A lot of people in New Haven have to go outside to get jobs (and) the issue is getting there and then getting home,” said Dumas. “...There are just not a lot of jobs in New Haven.” she said.

    Dumas, a city native and James Hillhouse House School graduate, served as first vice president of the organization before being elected to the branch’s top seat in June.

    She replaced outgoing president Jim Rawlings, who stepped down a year into his fourth two-year term to tend to other causes that were dear to him.

    Rawlings said Dumas will do “a wonderful job” because she is prepared to lead the New Haven organization. The branch organization has more than 800 members.

    “The issue of civil rights is not going away. It’s much more sophisticated in terms of the challenges we have in urban America, but Dori has been groomed for this (work) and she has tremendous respect in the community,” said Rawlings.

    Last March, the branch released its “Urban Apartheid” report, a data-driven document that detailed startling economic, educational, health and other disparities between white people and those of color in the region.


    Dumas said working to close the education gap will be a primary initiative in her first term.

    “I’m putting together a new education committee and we’ll be (working) with Dr. (James P.) Comer to really try to make an impact in our communities,” she said.

    “We’ve met with Mayor (Toni) Harp, the superintendent of schools, and presidents of area colleges,” Dumas said. “I’ll be sitting down with the experts in the field to see where the NAACP can have impact, so we can move together as a community.”

    While some organizations struggle to maintain membership and volunteers, Dumas said, the branch has not lost its footing in the community.

    “We’re working harder than ever, we’re getting flooded with calls for our help and support,” said Dumas, who is also a graduate of Albertus Magnus College, with degrees in business and economics.

    “It’s like anything, people complain until they need us; we’re the first one they call,” she said. “We just want to find solutions.”

    Shawna Woodard, the branch assistant secretary, said she’s always known Dumas to be in a leadership capacity.

    “She’s a natural born leader, and what I admire most about her is her motivation. She is not motivated by personal interest or ego; she’s motivated by working in the parameters of the organization and the parameters of her leadership position,” said Woodard, who has been with the branch for more than 15 years.

    “A good leader is not driven by self-interest or ego; that’s Dori,” Woodard said.

    Dumas, who has been a member of the organization for 25 years, said one of the successes of the branch is the Community Impact Mortgage Program, a partnership between the branch and First Niagara Bank.

    Home ownership is a critical element of building wealth and legacy for people of color. “And we are answering that call for the community with our program,” she said.

    The program assists each qualified urban home buyer by providing up to $10,000 in a forgivable loan for a down payment and closing costs. Qualified buyers also will have access to education and financial fitness workshops, as well as individual consultations and assistance.

    Voter registration drives are another area of success for the branch.

    “We’ve always had a very strong impact with voter registration. Not only getting people to register, but educating them and getting them out to vote,” Dumas said.

    “We know that’s where our voice and the power is, and we’re here to make sure that people understand that,” she said.

    “We fought and died for this right and it’s something that should not be taken for granted.”


    According to a Quinnipiac Quinnipaicpoll, likely voters say Republican Tom Foley would do a better job with the economy and state spending, putting him ahead of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by 6 percentage points in the contest for governor.

    Other political analysts see the race as a toss-up.

    Regardless of the political party preference, Dumas said, people of color have to cast their ballot.

    “This governor’s race is very critical for people of color. We’re nonpartisan, but people need to clearly look at the issues around jobs and education and the candidates’ platforms they’re supporting,” she said.

    “This race is going to matter,” she said. “Things can change depending on who is in office for people in urban communities; we really need to pay attention.”

    Dumas acknowledged that there is no official black political agenda, but said, “We all (people of color) have the same issues and things that we’re concerned about and paying attention too.”

    The Register reached out to the candidates for an opportunity to discuss their urban policy with voters in New Haven at a community forum, but schedules didn’t permit it to be held.


    Long time Dumas friend and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sister and lawyer Elicia Pegues-Spearman said one of Dumas’ challenges will be continued pressure for civic and community engagement.

    “Voter registration is always key to our community (as is) understanding why being involved in the political process makes a difference in the community,” said Pegues-Spearman, who’s the International Leadership Fellows Committee chairwoman of the sorority.

    Pegues-Spearman said Dumas’s best qualities are her dedication and the courage of speaking on issues that may not be popular.

    “She has the spirit of community service. It’s the appropriate time to use her experience in this role,” she said.

    Last month, members of the New Haven Fire Department and Dumas expressed frustration to the Board of Fire Commissioners over Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Egan, after the branch accused him of discrimination, violating health privacy laws and mishandling a personnel investigation.

    Eagan has been placed on paid administrative leave.

    “My leadership will try to be proactive rather than reactive. We rather work on things we can clearly see and make improvements right away before they become a problem,” said Dumas.

    She said finger-pointing is not good enough.

    “When we know that the faculty of schools, the police department and fire department are not looking like the community it serves, we’re proactive and willing to hold those organizations/agencies accountable,” she said.

    “We just don’t want to talk and point out the problem; we want impact. We are at the table helping make decisions, because most times the people who are making decisions about our life don’t look like us, and that’s unacceptable.”


    NAACP State President Scot X Esdaile said Dumas has been a solider in the branch for many years.

    “It’s well-deserving and so far she has done an outstanding job and I’m proud of her,” said Esdaile.

    While Dumas is the first woman elected as Greater New Haven branch president, she is not the first woman to serve in the post. Rolan Young served a year as branch president in 2000. Young, elected as first vice president, succeeded Roger Vann when he left the top post.

    Esdaile said Dumas will have to face the challenge of a male-dominated role.

    “The civil rights community is dominated by males, historically. It’s going to be interesting to see a female at the helm of leadership, but if there is anyone that can do it, it’s her,” he said. “She’ll make her mark as a civil rights activist in the largest branch in the state.”

    Rawlings said she shouldn’t face any challenges as female president.

    “If she wasn’t a known entity, it would be different. But across the state we have a pretty good representation of females that are branch presidents,” he said.“Dori has been the backbone of the organization.”

    Woodard said Dumas will not get any push back as a female.

    “In any other situation, I would say yes. But Dori has been a prominent face for the organization for years and has earned the respect of all members,” she said.


    Dumas has been called a champion of community service by members of the branch and the local chapter of Theta Epsilon Omega of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., of which she’s a member.

    “She’s very sincere and passionate about the work that she does. She has this level of energy that’s kind of unparalleled,” said Theta Epsilon Omega chapter President Nicole Murphy.

    “She’s going to fight and go hard for the causes she believes in,” said Murphy. “It’s her commitment, consistency and compassion that has definitely made an impact on our chapter and community.”

    Dumas said growing up, she had mentors who happened to be members of the sorority.

    “I know how they treated me and the impact that they had on me in the community,” said Dumas. “I’ve always been community-minded and held myself to a certain standard and AKA met that for me.”

    Dumas is motivated by her family and her love for New Haven. She said she loves opening up doors for young people and seeing progress in the community.

    Dumas is hopeful to see a black or Latino governor during her lifetime.

    Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that while Dori Dumas is the first woman elected as Greater New Haven Branch president, she is not the first woman to serve in the post. Rolan Young served a year as branch president in 2000. Young, elected as first vice president, succeeded Roger Vann when he left the top post.

    Call Community Engagement Editor Shahid Abdul-Karim at 203-680-9343. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com.

  • 22 Sep 2014 3:58 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean has been nominated as one of five finalists for The Root's People's Choice Award.  Each year, The Root.com announces its list of the 100 African Americans who are "making a lasting impact within the community and pushing the limits with their work."  The list includes people like Shonda Rhimes, Tim Howard, Kevin Hart, and Melissa Harris-Perry.  Please click the following link to cast your vote for Dr. Brown-Dean.  October 10th is the last day for voting.  Thank you for your support.


  • 08 Feb 2014 1:51 AM | Anonymous

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's success is based on the depth of commitment, vision and confidence of its members.  Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter proudly boasts, on average, 80 college-trained women who uphold that commitment, vision and confidence -- personally and professionally -- to benefit families and communities in Greater New Haven.  We applaud the following members for their recent accomplishments and awards.   

    The Connecticut Magazine inducted Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean into the Class of 2014, 40 Under 40.  Her scholarly work on the political dynamics with regard to the American criminal justice system and voting-rights policy has garnered international attention. She’s been a political analyst, adviser and commentator for CNN, PBS, National Public Radio and the Wall Street Journal, and serves as a senior justice advocate for the Soros Foundation. Brown-Dean has authored the soon-to-be-published Diversity in American Politics and Once Convicted, Forever Doomed, which examines the consequences of mass incarceration for local communities and neighborhoods.

    Dr. Jacquelyn Taylor is the first African-American woman to be awarded tenure at the Yale University School of Nursing.  Her career has focused on addressing health disparities in hypertension among African Americans. Her interest developed from research experiences early in her career and clinical practice.  Her long-term goals are to develop nursing interventions to prevent and reduce gene-environment risks associated with hypertension.

    The New Haven Clubs of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs named Jeffie Frazier, retired New Haven Public Schools Educator and Administrator, a Trailblazer for her outstanding work with children and the community.

    Gateway Community College President Dr. Dorsey Kendrick and Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean were two of the 100 most influential African-Americans in the state.  In December of 2013, the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP Branches honored this elite group excelling in education, government, business and communications. 

    Under Sondi Jackson's leadership, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference has grown exponentially not only in the number of participants, but also the number of community organizers, volunteers, sponsorships, and media coverage.  The conference is designed to be a fun and educational day of service for all ages.  Speakers and workshop presenters provide information on a variety of topics to educate and enhance the experience.

    Congratulations, Ladies!  Stay tuned for more news about our members.


  • 28 Sep 2012 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    September 21, 2012 marked one year since Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia despite strong evidence and questions about his innocence.  


    People nationwide protested, rallied, held vigils and engaged in public debate on the inequities and failures of the death penalty hoping to stall the execution.  


    Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, member of Theta Epsilon Omega, was instrumental in helping to lead this effort in

    Connecticut.  In November of 2011, she played an important role in promoting Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter as a lead sponsor of A Community Discussion on the Death Penalty.  The chapter joined with other organizations and concerned citizens such as the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP.  

    Unfortunately, Troy Davis could not be saved, but the movement lives on.  


    Dr. Brown-Dean testified before the Judiciary Committee in March of this year in support of An Act for Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, a bill that would replace the death penalty in Connecticut with a penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of release for certain murders committed on or after the effective date of the act.  The bill was passed and signed by Governor Malloy (D-Connecticut) in April of 2012.  


    On the anniversary of the execution, Ebony.com published an article co-authored by Dr. Brown-Dean, “A Call to Community: Why We Cannot Wait for the Next Troy Davis.”  Please read, post a comment on the article's site, and share the article with your networks.  Dr. Brown-Dean says, “Last year we wept.  This year we work!”  


    The movement lives on...

  • 26 Sep 2012 7:34 PM | Anonymous
    Congratulations to Theta Epsilon Omega member, Dr. Shuana Tucker-Sims on receiving the 2012 Salute to Excellence Award.  The award was given earlier this month in Providence, Rhode Island at the annual Salute to Excellence in Community Education Awards and Luncheon hosted by the sorority's North Atlantic Region.  The event was chaired by the chapter's First Vice President, Ashika Brinkley, who is also a member of the North Atlantic Region Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) Committee. 

    The award recognizes and acknowledges those in the community that have made a difference in creating a love of lifetime learning.  Dr. Tucker-Sims is the Director of Adult & Continuing Education in Danbury Public Schools and is an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership department of the University of Connecticut.  She prides herself in being able to do four specific things which are directly tied to lifelong learning and leadership - mentoring, leveraging resources, innovation and encouraging others.  Dr. Tucker-Sims helps her mentees to overcome challenging situations outside their academic environment by using all experiences as learning ones and instilling confidence in them to be solution-oriented.

    Another 2012 Salute to Excellence Award recipient was Theta Epsilon Omega's nominee, Mr. Erik Clemons, Executive Director and President of the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (CONNCAT).   CONNCAT’s mission is to collaborate with area employers and academic institutions to develop and deliver market-relevant job training for the poor, unemployed, and under-employed in Greater New Haven; and to leverage the transformative power of the arts to stimulate, motivate, and inspire at-risk students toward a new appreciation for learning.  Mr. Clemons is a lifelong Connecticut resident and active member of the Greater New Haven community.  He is devoted to education, young people and excellence in all facets of his life.  In his words, adult literacy is “the anchor” and serves as the gateway to the success of our community. 

    All proceeds from the luncheon benefited the Constance R. Pizarro EAF Endowment Fund.  EAF, the sorority's charitable arm, provides scholarships, fellowships and community assistance awards to undergraduate and graduate students internationally.  These programs are open to any student without regard to sex, race, creed, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability. 

    The mission of the EAF is to pursue lifelong learning.  Alpha Kappa Alpha and EAF recognize that it takes a village to raise a child, and as such, it takes more than just the schools and traditional education methods to create a love of lifetime learning.  As EAF Captain, Theta Epsilon Omega member, Marlene Graham facilitates the support of the EAF mission through chapter and individual member donations.   

    For more information about the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, visit www.akaeaf.org.

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