Chapter News

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  • 21 Jan 2014 11:23 PM | Anonymous

    New Haven Independent, by Paul Bass

    Medical student Kumba Hinds celebrated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday by guiding middle-schoolers onto the path she forged.

    Hinds was one of dozens of adults showed up to one of Monday’s main New Haven’s events in honor of the slain civil rights leader: a day-long “Drum Mayor for Justice” celebration at Wexler-Grant Community School.

    Some, like Hinds, came to run workshops advising young people on staying out of prison, getting to college, relaxing, eating right, managing money. Others came to sell beauty or art products at a fair in the cafeteria. All said they were there in the spirit of King.

    Dixwell Alder Jeanette Morrison brought voter-registration cards and lessons about participating in government for her “Politics 101” workshop. This is her third year running the MLK Day workshop. “The big thing with Dr. King, he understood how politics, understanding government, is going to be the piece that makes us free as black people. Not just blacks, all people. I want my community to understand the politics of New Haven so they can participate in this process,” said Morrison, who noted that King belonged to Alpha Phi Alpha, one of the “divine nine” black fraternities and sororities. She belongs to Alpha Kappa Alpha.
    Emmanuel Nwachuka joined Hinds in leading a worship on “navigating the education system from high school to graduate school.” “The more youth that we inspire to seek higher education, it’s going to create awareness. It’s going to help make the world a better place. I think that was Dr. King’s dreamundefinedto leave the world a better place” in part through higher education, Nwachuka said. Added Hinds: “We want to get them early so they can start thinking about different professions they might want to pursue and provide them some concrete steps on getting there.”


    A similar dream inspired Derick Sampson to don a cheetah-style backpack and stand next to a man in a cheetah costume in the Wexler cafeteria fair. They worked a table for a not-for-profit called My Dream Cheetah. (CHEETAH is an acronym “Connect to Higher Education Electronic Tools Application and Help.”) Sampson’s mother, Paulette Lawrence, created the not-for-profit to start kids thinking about college at a young age. She designed a Cheetah wind-up toy, wrote songs, created books. “Dr King had a dream at one point. That’s everyone’s favorite quote. My mom had a dream. When I was in high school, sophomore year, she started this,” Sampson said. (His mom wasn’t present at the booth Monday.) “She felt that a lot of my friends weren’t interested in going to school.What she wants to do is get that mindset in young kids, you don’t necessarily need to work a 9-to-5 labor job, if you apply yourself at an early age.”

    Personal shopper Alfreda Warner of New Haven credited King in part for her decision to launch V’s Accessories (“True girlfriends are like great pieces of jewelryundefinedbright, beautiful and always in style!”), wares of which she displayed Monday. “He’s helped us to move on,” she said of King. “He said that he believes in the dream; that dream has inspired me to pursue this dream of accessories.”

    Two women working the Mary Kay Cosmetics booth had a King spin, too. Shirley Ellis-West, who runs the street outreach program at the New Haven Family Alliance, has begun developing a side cosmetics business with the help of veteran Mary Kay “Independent Beauty Consultant” Dani Nixon. “Mary Kay is about beautifying yourself, keeping yourself healthy, your skin healthy particularly [for] women of color,” Ellis-West said as she sat with Nixon Monday. “It has evolved into some wonderful products for women of color. Dr. King talked years ago of blacks and whites coming together. This is one example of that.”

    New Haven Independent Article

  • 21 Jan 2014 11:18 PM | Anonymous

    New Haven Register, by Abbe Smith, Register Staff

    NEW HAVEN -- Hundreds of people gathered at Wexler-Grant School Monday to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and to engage in community building through education and service.

    More than 200 volunteers came out for the annual Martin Luther King conference, a decades-old tribute event that features music, free food, civil rights reflections, raffles and workshops for students, families and community members. The event was organized by local graduate chapters of the Alpha Kappa sorority and Omega Psi Phi fraternity, with help from the school district and numerous nonprofits, and donations from businesses.

    "It's important to maintain tradition and history and, more importantly, to celebrate this day by giving back to the community," said Sondi Jackson, one of the lead organizers of the conference and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

    She said the purpose of the workshops is to "uplift the community" and inspire people to think about the world around them.

    United Way of Greater New Haven helped recruit volunteers for the event, which featured remarks from state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Wexler-Grant Principal Sabrina Breland and Ward 22 Alderwoman Jeanette Morrison. The Rev. Brian Bellamy of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church gave the keynote address.

    The workshops cater to different age groups. Programs for kindergarten through second grade students included storytelling about the Civil Rights Movement, fire safety, African dance and drumming. Kids in third through fifth grades got to try beading, dramatic arts and line dancing. Middle schoolers learned about bullying, self-esteem and planning for the future. High school students joined health discussions, learned about Internet safety and heard about the New Haven Promise college scholarship program.

    Adult offerings included workshops on education topics such as the life of Rosa Parks, but also featured practical discussions about starting a business, navigating break-ups or divorce, estate and funeral planning, mental health treatments and weight loss.

    In a workshop for young children about King's legacy, Al Lucas, director of the city's Office of Legislative Services, urged kids to remember the civil rights leader's life and dream of a better world, rather than focusing on his assassination. He told students about King's dedication to Gandhi's principles of nonviolence and his use of civil disobedience to fight racism and effect change. And Lucas reminded students that King was once a kid just like them.

    "What do you want to be when you grow up," he asked the kids. Hands shot up and students vowed to be presidents, teachers, toy makers and principals.

    In another room, youth mentor Timothy Brown engaged middle schoolers in discussion about King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He asked students if they think King's "dream" for justice and equality has been realized. Jasmine Brown, a student at Elm City College Preparatory School and one of 200 volunteers at the conference, answered "no."

    "That is not what's going on right now," she said, adding she believes society is moving closer to King's vision of equality.

    While some of the workshops focused on King, others addressed practical issues and served to solve problems facing youth and adults. High school students learned about budgeting basics from presenter Terrence Jennings. Merieta Bayati, owner of the Girlie Girl Shop in New Haven, talked to a group of women about starting their own business and being successful even in a bad economy.

    "It's all about how you carry yourself. You have to believe in yourself," she said.

    Link to New Haven Register Article

  • 14 Nov 2013 10:30 PM | Anonymous
    By Shahid Abdul-Karim, New Haven Register

    NEW HAVEN >> Vera Esdaile, Nicole Murphy and Doris Dumas said they believe mayor-elect Toni Harp’s victory was a momentous one for woman in the city.

    And they are proud that she is black.

    “I believe for all women it was awesome to have elected the first female mayor of this city and she is African American,” said Vera Esdaile, 48, a state social worker.

    “I felt proud in that moment and proud to be a part of her historic campaign,” she said.

    Harp, 66, a state senator, beat Alderman Justin Elicker, 38, last Tuesday in a tough race to fill the seat Mayor John DeStefano Jr. held for 20 years.

    Harp won 54.6 percent of the vote to Elicker’s 45.3 percent.

    “I felt a sense of pride and I said to her that night while hugging her, ‘you make us all proud,’” said Doris Dumas, 49, a New Haven native and James Hillhouse High School graduate.

    “It’s a shame in this day and age we’re still having to see ‘the first of,’ the glass ceiling has been broken and it’s time to get to work.” Dumas said.

    Harp is the city’s 50th mayor and is among 138 black women leading city’s in the country, according to Vanessa Williams, CEO/executive director of the National Conference of Black Mayors.

    “I’m excited to see someone who looks like me in this leadership role, but more importantly, it’s about the future and how it’s the beginning of a new era for New Haven,” said Nicole Murphy, 37, also a New Haven native.

    “This is an opportunity for all of us to rally together and be supportive of her vision to make this city great,” said Murphy, president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Theta Epsilon Omega chapter.

    The image of black women

    In some well-known instances in the entertainment industry, black women have been stereotyped, and according to a recent feature in Essence Magazine about a study of black women being portrayed in the media found many negative results, including black women labeled as baby mamas, black Barbie, gold-digger, unhealthy and fat.

    But all three women said Harp’s election will help change the image of black women and bring some dignity to the community.

    “I think she has a vested interest in black New Haven, she’s not removed from the needs of the community,” said Murphy, also Hillhouse High School graduate. “The image will change, but we have to have patience. I feel like her leadership is sincere and we (blacks) don’t hesitate to reach out to her, because whenever she see’s an opportunity to better the New Haven community she does it.”

    Dumas said Harp understands the issues of jobs, economic development and education as it relates to the black community’s interest.

    “It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not magic, I think her vision and leadership will help change the image for us and the city,” Dumas said.

    “I hope we (blacks) understand she’s New Haven’s mayor and when she starts doing things, she has to embrace the broader community; not just us,” she said.

    Harp, who has been a state senator for the past 21 years, is noted as a consensus builder and received endorsements from the local, state and national democratic political machines.

    “I’m humbled by it and had no idea people felt that way,” Harp said when told woman the city are inspired by her win. “When I see little girls they get all excited and it makes me feel really good.”

    “I’m glad that finally in our lifetime that African American women can become mayors of cities,” Harp said.

    She inherits budget and violence issues, but also a downtown that’s thriving and a public school system that has become a model for national reform.

    Throughout the campaign, black voters stressed the need for more jobs, additional resources for youth programs and the need to address the alarming inequalities of wealth distribution facing New Haven.

    Yet, Esdaile said she is a realist and that issues in the black community have to be fixed by the black community.

    “It’s unrealistic for everyone to think since we have a black mayor now that all of our issues in the black community are going to be fixed overnight,” Esdaile said.

    “It’s going to take the village to fix the image of the black community and it’s not going to happen just because we have a black mayor,” she said. “We can’t expect her to work magic for us, we have to do our part with our children making sure we’re on top of what they’re doing,”

    Harp has been criticized by her rivals and some in the black community of her closeness with New Haven’s mostly white unions, arguing the unions will get undue benefits in exchange for their support of her campaign.

    But Esdaile said people say negative things about Harp, yet aren’t involved themselves.

    “Don’t just stand on the sideline and complain, get involved with the community and things that can make a difference,” she said.

    Murphy said people in New Haven have a very strong sense of pride for their city, Harp is familiar to everyone and “she has the respect of a diverse pool of people in the city,” she said.

    Gun violence in the community

    The city’s gun violence has led to 17 homicides to date this year and drew national attention as federal authorities offering assistance this year in Newhallville, after gun fire erupted in their every day for a week.

    During the campaign Harp said she was traumatized by what she found in Newhallville, where residents were afraid to leave their homes and felt menaced by youths involved in drug dealing and shootings.

    Blacks represent 35.4 percent of the city’s population.

    The majority of the homicide victims and known suspects in this year’s homicides are young black men.

    Esdaile said the ‘it takes the village’ concept is far removed from the community.

    “It’s about empowering parents. Some parents aren’t empowered, that’s one reason why we see so much violence in our community,”she said. “We have so many different resources and programs in our community for parents, but they have to involve kids in the positive things that work.” she said. “The churches could be doing more for the kids in the commuinity as well.”

    Murphy said ending violence in the community is a dirty job and some people are afraid to get out into the community.

    “We need to talk to those people that are out there in the community and find ways of how we can help,” Murphy said.

    “Finding out what’s lacking that causes our youth to have a blatant disrespect for human life is key; it’s like a game for many of them until it’s to late,” she said.

    Dumas said she is tired of seeing life lost by homicide or the prison system, as “no one wins’ she said.

    Harp said she wants to get the Q House board of directors up and running again with programs offered in schools and other space within a few months. She expects to ask churches and Yale-New Haven Hospital to help with the funding.

    Contact Community Engagement Editor Shahid Abdul-Karim at 203-789-5614. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at


  • 08 May 2013 4:27 PM | Anonymous

    A silver alert has been issued for the 20 year old Alyssiah Marie Wiley, a student at Eastern Connecticut State University. She is the grand-daughter of Evelyn Streater-Frizzle, one of Theta Epsilon Omega's members. Please spread the word, pray for her safe return and contact the authorities with any information that may help bring her home.

    Please help her family and the police by sharing this post via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.  Thank you!

    Family pleads for information on missing ECSU student

    Search continues for missing ECSU student (with photos)

  • 28 Feb 2013 8:12 PM | Anonymous
    Attention Graduating Class of 2013!

    Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter is offering a four-year scholarship, up to $4,000, to a graduating senior in the top third of his or her class.  The applicant must verify acceptance to and attendance at an accredited post-secondary school or college, and reside in Greater New Haven. 

    Students applying must submit the following postmarked by April 12, 2013:

    • Completed application (fillable form);
    • An official transcript with ACT or SAT scores;
    • A letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor AND a teacher of an academic subject;
    • A typewritten autobiographical essay, minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 2 pages.

    The entire application packet should be checked by your counselor.

    Applicant must forward completed application packets to:

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
    Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter
    Attn:  Scholarship Chairmen
    P.O. Box 8298
    New Haven, CT 06530

    Click here for more information and to see past recipients of our scholarship program. 

    Please address all questions to

    Note:  The application has been converted into a Portable Document Format (PDF).  If you are having issues with viewing the document, please check the version of Adobe Reader that you are using.  If you have a version older than 9.0, please visit the Adobe website to download an updated version of Adobe Reader.  Users with Adobe Reader may not save a copy of their completed form.  Please complete the form and print copies to submit and keep for your records.

  • 02 Feb 2013 2:33 PM | Anonymous

    It's been a long tradition for the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to wear the colors pink and green, but on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 1, 2013, we joined millions of Americans in the fight against heart disease in women by wearing RED

    Heart disease is still the number one killer of women, taking the life of one in three women each year.  This is especially important for African-American women, who have an increased risk due to factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes.

    Click the image to view photos of Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter members wearing RED.  We thank you for your support of this initiative and hope to see you next year.

    For more information about National Wear Red Day, visit

  • 25 Jan 2013 2:54 PM | Anonymous

    Annual Martin Luther King Conference Saturday in New Haven

    NEW HAVEN - The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Conference will hold its annual community meeting from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wexler-Grant School, 55 Foote St.

    “Visions of the Dream” is the theme for this year’s conference, which was chosen by organizers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream “ speech, which King delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

    “We are excited about the conference and usually hold the conference on the federal holiday, but due to the presidential inauguration we had to schedule the event for Saturday,” said conference Chairwoman [Member of Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter] Sondi Jackson.

    “The comprehensive conference is a collaboration of civic, fraternal, religious and community organizations from the Greater New Haven area for the purpose of reflecting on the past while seeking the promise of tomorrow,” Jackson said.

    For more information, call Jackson at 203 494-1635.

    Contact Shahid Abdul-Karim at 203 789-5614.

  • 27 Nov 2012 8:29 PM | Anonymous

    New Haven Food Truck honored by Alpha Kappa Alpha for efforts to fight poverty

    Submitted by Cara Rosner on November 2, 2012 - 1:22pm


    We are honored and proud to share that one of our Women’s Initiative’s signature projects, the New Haven Food Truck, has been recognized by [Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter] with its Global Poverty Leadership Award.

    The food truck, which recently completed its second summer on the road, delivers free meals to New Haven youths under age 18 during the summer, when those who rely on free meals during the school year are at risk of going hungry.

    This past summer the Food Truck, which runs in partnership with New Haven Public Schools, expanded to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. It made stops at a total of 10 sites, serving two meals each day at every stop. One driver we spoke to in August said on a typical day he distributed about 70 breakfasts and between 180 and 190 lunches. The high demand for the Food Truck’s services shows that the need for it is great, and growing.

    Our Women’s Initiative members - passionate about childhood health, nutrition and hunger – were a driving force behind getting the Truck on city streets and have supported the initiative as it has grown.

    In presenting the Global Poverty Leadership Award to United Way for the food truck program, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority cited United Way “for sending a very strong message that every child deserves love, support, encouragement and a healthy meal.”

    Every four years, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s international president adopts a program that guides all of the sorority’s chapter efforts during the course of her term. The current president, Carolyn House-Stewart, is focusing the group’s 2010-2014 program on “Global Leadership Through Timeless Service.”

    Learn more about the Food Truck here.

    Link to original article

  • 05 Nov 2012 9:50 AM | Anonymous

    New Haven Register:  Published Sunday, November 4, 2012

    NEW HAVEN - In anticipation of Election Day on Tuesday the Greater New Haven NAACP Branch is encouraging city residents to “Get Out To Vote.”

    The organization will be staffing a phone bank to make calls starting from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the branch headquarters, located at 545 Whalley Ave.

    Neighborhood canvassing also will start from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

    “We are excited about Tuesday’s election and we are preparing to canvas our communities to let people know that voting affects every aspect of our human life,” said Doris Dumas, first vice president of the local branch and leading the GOTV campaign.

    With assistance from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority [Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter], more than 525 new voters were registered in New Haven since January.

    Phone banking also will take place at the branch headquarters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day Tuesday, and rides will be offered to those need getting to the polls.

    Sunday’s canvas will target the Newhallville, Dixwell, Dwight and Fair Haven communities.

    “We are in need of more volunteers for the canvas, and as we get more volunteers we can expand our areas coverage and encourage more people to vote on Tuesday’s election,” Dumas said.

    Dumas also said the branch has solidified six volunteers as carpoolers to the polls and other volunteers are on standby if the number of people needing rides increase.

    With regard to concern about voter suppression concerns that have arisen in the country, Dumas said, “We have not seen or heard of any voter suppression in our areas, however we encourage people to contact the 1-866-OUR-VOTE number for any voting irregularities,”

    “People need to know when they go to the polls to remove candidate buttons, hats and cover up T-shirts, because you could be turned away,” she said. “We don’t want anything to stop us on Tuesday, our ancestors have fought and struggled for this basic right and when we don’t exercise this right we disrespect the dignity of our voice.”

    Display of such political material within 75 feet of a polling place is not permitted under state law.

    Contact Shahid Abdul-Karim at 203-789-5614. Follow him on Twitter @Shahid_Akarim

  • 03 Oct 2012 4:47 PM | Anonymous

    Published in The New Haven Register on October 3, 2012

    New Haven coalition launches series to register new voters

    By Shahid Abdul-Karim, Register Staff / Twitter: @Shahid_Akarim

    NEW HAVEN - The Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of New Haven has launched a series of non-partisan voter registration drives that will run until Oct. 30.

    “Your Vote Matters” is the title of the series and it will take place throughout the Housing Authority’s family developments in the city.

    “Elm City Communities is excited to launch the ‘Your Vote Matter’ series of voter registration drives for our residents,” said Housing Authority Executive Director Karen Dubois-Walton. “Along with our community partners we will be on the ground registering as many people as we can and letting them know that their vote is equally important in both a local and national scale.”

    Registration times for the events will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at these locations: Thursday, Quinnipiac Terrace; Oct. 11, Farnam Courts; Oct. 18, McConaughy Terrace; Oct. 25, Westville Manor; and Oct. 30 at Eastview Terrace.

    Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, said regarding the voting process that, “most folk only vote in presidential elections, not understanding or seeing the importance of voting in other local elections that affect their quality of life and the communities in which they live.”

    The series of events was created to educate and engage residents about the importance of the voting process. During each voter registration session a group of volunteers will canvas designated sites to register residents and speak one-on-one to answer questions and hand out educational materials about the election process.

    “All local organizations have been charged by their national offices to participate in voter registration. This has been our obligation and commitment to the community,” said Dori Dumas, vice president of the Greater New Haven NAACP branch [and member of Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter].

    Elm City Communities partnered with the NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, New Haven Family Alliance, The People’s Center, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority [Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter], Junta for Progressive Action, Fire Birds of New Haven and Omega Psi Phi fraternity for the events.

    To volunteer for any of the events, call Jasmin Franjul at 203-498-8800, ext. 1009.

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