By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

Wow!  What a great event!  The Burlington/Camden Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi really outdid themselves this past Sunday, at their 12th Annual Gala held at Auletto Caterers in Deptford, NJ. 

TOP ROW (L-R): Angelia Edwards, Benita M. Young, Dr. Donee Thomas Paterson (DST), M.D. Gloria Dulan-Wilson (DST), Joyce Patricia Clark; BOTTOM ROW (L-R): Whitney Kyles, Dr. Leslie R. Holmes, MD, Dr. Pamela Moore, Sherry Wilson Butler (DST), Rev. Dr. Varlyna Wright, Yvette Pruitt (DST)

If you missed it, you missed a great event and a great moment in history (or should I say her-story?) And I'm not just saying it because I was one of the honorees - or because it was one of the greatest thrills of my life - but because I was  surrounded by Black women who had achieved major  accomplishments and were still positive, powerful, down to earth and real.  Women who were as elegant as they were educated and erudite.  Women who had stood up to challenges and seemingly insurmountable odds, and stood triumphant, and were now being recognized.  Women who were raising families, had loving husbands, and great careers.

As Elleanor Jean Hendley, Hostess of Ceremonies, so appropriately stated - the Kappas are the only organization of men that are recognizing Black women - and it's neither Black History Month or Women's History Month.  They are the only Black male organization that has conscientiously taken the time to pay homage to women - Black women - for the roles they have played, and the examples they have set in overcoming obstacles of racism, sexism, economic privation, to make a difference in the world. 

We were there, all ages, generations, career choices - across generations - from recent college grads to grandmothers - from activists to doctors to PhDs - with families, friends, associates, and Sorors gathered to bear witness to this one moment in time.

I must admit,  as a photojournalist, I am usually covering these kinds of events for the various publications,  and my Blog, Gloria Dulan-Wilson Blog/ECLECTICALLY BLACK NEWS.  I'm usually the one snapping the pictures, videotaping the speakers, interviewing the recipients.  I'm usually sitting down front to make sure I get all the nuances of the events - so this was relatively new for me - though I did manage to get a few shots in with my camera, by and large, it's relatively difficult to do when you're seated at the dais.   So I actually sat back and took the opportunity to bask in that rare air of being in the limelight.  In other words, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My congratulations to the other ten women who shared the dais with me. It was truly an honor to have met them. I'm going to give a brief synopsis of who they were and why they were chosen.  

However, before I do, I want to express my gratitude to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi's Burlington/Camden Alumni Chapter, and to brother Richard Williams, for nominating me and selecting me as one of the honorees.  I have to admit that I didn't think anyone noticed any of my activities - not that I do what I do to be noticed - but it is nice to be recognized and appreciated.  

And then I want to thank my friends who supported me in helping me help the Kappas in their fundraising efforts - the proceeds of the event are going to the development of a community education center for African American youth in the Burlington/Camden catchment area.

I definitely have to thank my three children -  Kira, Wunson Ra Lyons, and Adiya - all adults now, but still my children - for coming out to the event as well.  It was like a mini family reunion having them all together with me again - we see each other - but it's been a while since  all of us have been together in the same place, at the same time.  It was absolutely one of the best times we've had together in quite some time.  And of course my Son-in-Law Hugh IV, and my handsome grandsons, Hugh V and Jaden  - who are growing like trees.

And to my best friend Annie Gee -who is always traveling, for taking the time out to be there - like old times when we used to make every event, no matter where it took place.  And of course my fellow Lincolnians - Carol Black, Joe Williams,  and Ronald Moffitt - for being there and being in my corner.  Carol Black was the 2014 Recipient of the African American Women of Achievement Award - so it was truly special to have her there for me.

And of course, there were so many wonderful Sorors from Delta Sigma Theta's Valley Forge Alumnae Chapter in attendance, as well as sister/soror/friend Carol Black - one of the founding members of Lincoln University's Delta Sigma Theta Chapter, that the entire room was nearly seeing RED!! -  from the Kappas and the Deltas, both of whom have Creme and Crimson as their signature colors! We looked good too!  

In addition to the award pictured above - we each received red roses, a citation from the Mayor of Camden, NJ, and were escorted to our seats by the Kappa Alpha Psi's high school youth group; young men who are being mentored and guided from middle school through their high school years and beyond.  What a wonderful sight to see these young men as they made their way with each honoree on his arm, to make sure that we were seated properly.

These are the African American Women of Achievement for 2015:

Sherry Wilson Butler:  Professional Vocal Entertainer and Educator, who has performed with such greats as Al Jaarreau, Teddy Pendergrass, Phyllis Hyman, Nina Simone, Diane Reeves, Betty Carter and a host of others, not only received an award, but sang for the audience as well: "I Believe I Can Fly."  She's toured the world, but also works with youth in Philadelphia, helping them find their own creative voice. She is also currently working with the Clef  Club - the famous jazz venue during their anniversary celebration.  She is a proud member of theValley Forge Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Joyce Patricia Clark:  Recently retired from Lockheed Martin after 39 years, where she was initially Logistics engineer, and then later Material Planner/Scheduler lead.  She was program director of FESOP - Future Engineers and Scientists Outreach Program. At the other end of the spectrum, Ms. Clark was also an actress for 13 years.  Who says we have to do just one thing to be successful?  

Angelia Edwards:  Is the founder and director of Manna from Heaven, "a non-profit organization established for the sole purpose of giving a helping hand to neighbors in need," in the Bridgeton, Millville, Vineland and surrounding towns who struggle to put food on their table.  They help those who may not know where their next meal may be coming from, and have provided thousands of healthy meals, food baskets and groceries over the past eight years.  She is also president of the Bridgeton Board of Education, President of their NAACP Chapter, and is an employee of the South Woods State Prison (since 1997).  A graduate of Bridgeton High School (1981) she is the first female athlete to earn 1000 points in the history of their Girl's Varsity Basketball team.

Dr. Leslie R. Holmes, MD:  Is a pioneer and a trailblazer.  She is currently a practicing Radiation Oncologist with the American Professional Associates in Atlanta, GA, and is affiliated with DeKalb Medical Center Hillandale at Hillandale Radiation Oncology Center and Atlanta Medical Center Radiation Therapy Dept., South Campus; and was previously the Medical Director of the Rockdale Radiation Oncology Center. She also served as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Radiation Oncology the Emory University School of Medicine!  Now the main point is that she is probably one of a very small number of African Americans in this field.  In fact during her comments she emphasized the need for more Black doctors, especially in the field of Oncology.  A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Dr. Holmes graduated from Howard University with a BS in Science in 1987.  We all shared an emotional moment with her as she thanked her parents and relatives for seeing her through the hard times and standing with her as she achieved these wonderful goals.

Whitney Kyles:  Is a fashion stylist best known for working with celebrities, film and TV productions.  Originally from Detroit, MI she got her start when a friend and mentor from Saturday Night Live recognized her talent and eye for fashion and encouraged her to pursue it as a career.  She has dressed  and designed for some of the who's who of the entertainment realm:  Dave Chappelle, Tom Joyner, Vince Staples - helping them define their distinctive styles.  She has also done set designs for "Shaft 2000," "Sex and the City," "The Chappelle Show," among others.  Having recently launched "Whitney Kyles" a custom design clothing company that produces capsule collections for those who desire a brand driven merchandise, she gets her inspiration from such countries as France, Italy, India and Mozambique.  A frequent traveler, her time is spent between New York, Los Angeles and Miami when in the United States.

Dr. Pamela Moore:  Originally from East Orange, NJ, Dr. Moore attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where she received a BA degreesin Criminal Justice and a Masters in Educational Leadership; and a Doctorate in Leadership and Innovation from Wilmington University.  Her career in education led her to the role of Vice Principal in the City of Camden, NJ where she received a Teacher of the Year Award.  In 2012 she was appointed as the first African American Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Millville Public School District, and was featured in a film series entitled "Classroom Instruction That Works."  A Founding member of R.O.O.T.S. (RELYING ON OURSELVES TO SUCCEED), an organization dedicated to mentoring new School Administrators, she was honored by the National Congress of Black Women, Bridgeton Area chapter, and was the recipient of the Geraldine R. Dodge/FEA Principal Fellowship Grant in both 2003 and 2009.  

Dr. Donee Thomas Patterson, MD: Is currently attending physician at Virtua Healthcare Center in New Jersey, and was formerly Director of Medical Community Outreach at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.  She is also a radio host on WURD 900 AM, where she educates the community about health issues.  She received her degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and East Carolina University School of Medicine as the recipient of the coveted Board of Governors Full Scholarship.  Among her many accolades and awards, are Resident of the Year Award, and the completion of a Women's Health Fellowship through Temple University, which involved travel to French Indonesia to develop a women's health clinic; as well as travel to Russia to develop a family medicine program in the Ukraine.  In 2013, she received the Women Achieving Award from the Philadelphia Tribune, and the NAACP honored her as one of the 104 most Influential Black Women In Philadelphia. Dr. Patterson is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Yvette Pruitt:  Is an educator and a counselor in the Camden Public School Syste, having gradated from Glasboro State College (Rowan University) with a degree in Elementary Education, she taught at Morgan Village Middle School and Camden High School for 17 years.  She was the firs Assistant Coach of the Ladies Track Team under Brother Billy Wright, and later became head coach (Speed City).  She began her counseling career at Boys and Girls Club, Camden City Adult High School and Woodrow Wilson High School - where she is also college career counselor.  The recipient of the Colin Powell Service Award, she was induced into the Golden Key Honor Society for Community Service and Leadership.  Ms. Pruitt is proudest of her membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she has been a Golden Life Member since 1984, and has served in various leadership capacities, including former President of the South Jersey Alumnae Chapter; Regionally, New Jersey State Coordinator; Eastern Region Advisor;s Task Force, Coordinator of the Eastern Region Advisors for Delaware and New Jersey, and Secondary and Primary Advisor of the Theta Chi Chapter for the past 20 years.    She also serves as Historian for the newly established South Jersey Pan-Hellenic Council.   Ms. Pruitt believes in doing what needs to be done.  "When there is a need, recognize it; don't wait to be asked, nor recognized for doing it.  The work is it's own reward."

Rev. Dr. Varlyna Wright: Is currently the District Superintendent fr the Capital District of the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church, overseeing 63 Churches!  A Certified Pastoral Psychotherapist,  Rev. Wright engaged in therapy for individuals, couples and families at the Samartan Counseling Center in Ambler, PA.  Rev. Wright received her Doctor of Minstry from Wesley Theological Seminary  in Washington, DC., and has served the following Churches:  Calvary UMC, Easton, PA, Community United Methodist Church in Fredriksted, St. Croix, USVI, Janes United Methodist Church, Emmanuel UMC, Philadelphia; St. Daniels UMC in Chester, PA; Franklin-St. John UMC, Newark, NJ; State Street UMC in Camden, NJ.  A member of Good Shepard UMC in Willingboro, NJ, her mission statement can be found in Luke: 4: 18-19: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to let the oppressed go free; to proclaim the year of the Lord's Favor.  (New Revised Standard Version).

Benita M. Young:  Is the President/Secretary of the Navy Council of Review Boards Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB), where she serves as the final appellant authority for unfavorable personnel security determinations made by the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudication Facility.  This is a very high ranking position, and one that is definitely not taken lightly.  She makes the final decisions on appeals of revoked or denied security clearances and Sensitive Compartmented Informaton (SCI) for the Department of the Navy (DON), military and civilian members, and DON Contractor SCI access.  She manages a $6.8 Million contract, which provides Professional Investigation support services to the PSAB.  She has managed a worldwide comprehensive security program responsible for the rotation of classified information, and has developed and implemented instructions, Standard Operating Procedures and guidance regarding security and procedures applicable to NCIS activities worldwide.  She doesn't look anything like the foregoing description; and most would probably characterize her as a fashion model.  She is also the mother of five children, four of whom will be attending college at the same time.  Ms. Young is a proud graduate of Lincoln University, PA, having received her BA degree in 1988.  She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., serving as their International Program Chairperson. 

Gloria Dulan-Wilson:  Writer, Publicist, Blogger, Public Speaker/Spokesperson,  has been a community activist in one form or another in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Oklahoma and Los Angeles.  While she comes from a family of educators, and has a degree in Academic Guidance and Counseling, she developed an interest in Real Estate while living in California and studied RE Appraisals.   It was the combined counseling and Real Estate, plus her care and concern for low and moderate income families that led the late Glenn D. Cunningham, mayor of Jersey City, NJ, to appoint her Housing Coordinator.  A believer that all people - especially African Americans - deserve to have a decent, attractive, affordable home of their own, Ms. Dulan-Wilson is a NACA Advocate, where she helps First Time Homebuyers, who are interested, participate in a program that offers free down payment, free closing costs, and a mortgage 1% below prime rate; and free foreclosure prevention for those who are already homeowners.
Some of her Milestones include:
This is the 60th Anniversary of Ms. Wilson participating in sit-ins in Oklahoma City, OK with the great Clara Luper as her mentor, and several hundred other school mates;
This is the 50th Anniversary of Ms. Wilson entering Lincoln University, as one of the first 16 coeds on campus (The 50th Anniversary of Lincoln University opening its doors to Coeds on Campus), a formerly all male university, which, at the time, had a population of 600 male students: 
The 50th Anniversary of Being Kicked out of Hampton for locking President Holland in the Administration Building after the cancelled  students' participation in the March on Selma, Alabama and threatened them with expulsion if they went;
This the 50th Anniversary of meeting the great Thurgood Marshall (Lincoln man)
This is the 30th Anniversary of Covering the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington DC
This is the 49th Anniversary of getting a natural hair style.
This is the 19th year of covering Rev. Jesse Jackson's Wall Street Project
This is the 17th Year of covering Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network Conference.
This is the 32nd Year as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., where she is a member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.
Her proudest moments are: "ALL THE STANDS I'VE EVER TAKEN FOR BLACK PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES; and My writing - especially when I know that it brings wisdom, knowledge, understanding and action; and starting my Blog, www.gloriadulanwilson.blogspot.com / ECLECTICALLY BLACK NEWS!"


May the great men of Kappa Alpha Psi continue to do wonderful works and make their mark in the world.  

In Gratitude for a most memorable event - 

Stay Blessed & 
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

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