SOT New Haven

SOT New Haven
SOT New Haven and their Circle of Mentors

Friday, May 10, 2013

InfluenceHER Community

Rhonda Wilkins and Carla Morrison

I have a delayed reaction to most things, unless I’m in a dangerous situation. And yesterday, by no means was danger apart of the situation. It was INFLUENTIAL … Actually, it was the InfluenceHER Awards that Rhonda Wilkins and Divas Unlimited Inc., produced.
When I got a call from Rhonda congratulating me because I had been nominated and chosen to receive the InfluenceHer Community Award of the 2nd Annual InfluenceHER Awards, I was so thankful; however it didn’t hit me until this morning. And since I’m a writer, my only way to truly share, are by journaling my thoughts…
I’m not going to front, this morning I’m beaming with excitement, as I think about having received such an esteemed honor, the “InfluenceHer Community Award”; wow the small town girl with big city dreams receives the “InfluenceHer Community Award”... It was the community in my “small” town of New Haven, Connecticut that raised me and now I’m in the community helping to raise others… “Now that’s a trip” (as my mother would say).
Leona Barr-Davenport, Stacii Jae, Judi Cohen Wade,
Rashan Ali, Palestine Ace and Carla Morrison
The great company of accomplished 2013 honorees was impressive, but the entire experience, leading up to this point, regarding the work I do, my personal trials and triumphs are mind blowing. You never know who is watching you and I thank God that I act from a sincere and genuine place. When Stacii Jae Johnson, who brought the welcome address and Beth Goodman, who was the co-host, (along with Dr. Alduan Tartt) of the event spoke about imagining and believing, I thought about the many times, as a little girl, I would look through my mother’s Essence Magazines and daydream about being a woman of influence, where I could give to my community.
Last night, the keynote speaker, Ms. Janice Andrews (Google her) spoke about what an influencer is and how their actions play a major role in having a positive influence on others, I just shook my head in agreement; Because it was the actions of many that helped me as a little girl and now it is my actions and those of my support team that are helping to develop other little girls. It’s not becoming someone of high regard and then doing the work. It’s doing the work that makes one look at another with high regard.
In my speech, I accepted the award on behalf of the 250 supporters, sponsors, donors and volunteers who have helped me to be able to do the kind of work I do in the community; however I twisted and turned all night because I felt I could’ve said more; So I decided to take another stab at it.
Carla Morrison’s revised speech for the “InfluenceHer Community Awards 2013”:
“It is very fitting that I receive the community award, because it was the community in New Haven, Connecticut that helped to raise my sister and I. And in that same spirit of community, it has always been my goal and that of Sisters of Today and Tomorrow (SOT) to be a part of the “community” for which I call the village, which helps to raise and support girls and the women in their life, to become productive, goal oriented and well rounded citizens.
I can’t do this work without you. It’s not a one woman job. I ask you to continue to support me and SOT through your time, treasures and talents.
I thank Ayana Walker for nominating me, Rhonda Wilkins and her team for voting on me, and my mother and father for planting the seed in me many years ago. And I can’t forget about my beloved sorority Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated., thank you for igniting the passion in me to be of service. I charge everyone with giving to a nonprofit organization, because it is from your generous donations that we can continue to do the work that will make our community a better place.
I accept this award on behalf of the 250 supporters, sponsors, donors and volunteers who have become a part of SOT’s village. Please join me in becoming a part of the village of SOT, as we continue to develop the confidence, character and leadership in our girls. Thank you.  

That AKA and Zeta Love -
Rashan Ali, Founder of Sporty Girls
and Carla Morrison, Founder of
Sisters of Today and Tomorrow.

Photos by: Dann Slaughter Finklea
Shout out to the 2013 honorees:
Dr. Bernice King (Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Coretta Scott King), Leona Barr-Davenport, Carol Blackmon, Dr. Rogsbert Phillips, Terri J. Vaughn, Rashan Ali, Judi Cohen Wade and Palestine Ace, all great women of character and community. (Google all these women. They are truly awesome)
Side note: We invite you to sponsor a girl to attend the 6th Annual Sisters of Today and Tomorrow’s leadership conference July 10 & 11, 2013. Log onto: or email:

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