SOT New Haven

SOT New Haven
SOT New Haven and their Circle of Mentors

Sunday, April 17, 2016


By: Carla Morrison

Carla and Bria

New Haven native and resident Bria Holmes, was drafted into the WNBA, as a first round draft pick, 11th overall!  What an exciting time for her, her family & friends, as well as her hometown. 

One would think, this major life event was newsworthy enough to make front page of New Haven's mainstream hometown newspaper (or at least a major feature in the Sports section), as well as, New Haven's very popular online publication. That wasn’t the case. There was a small article in the Sports section of New Haven's hometown newspaper on Bria Holmes and no mention at all in the online publication.

As an advocate for girls (with a strong affinity for Black Girls), a proud New Haven, Connecticut native & James Hillhouse High School alumni (c/o 88) and a seasoned public relations professional, the fact that Bria Holmes was not celebrated properly in New Haven’s top two news publications concerned me. The first day, I expressed my disdain to the store cashier, where I was going to purchase a paper. The second day, I shared my concern with a friend and mentioned my healthy relationship with the mainstream hometown newspaper Editor; That friend suggested I contact her. That same evening I went to celebrate with Bria Holmes, her family and friends, with the intent to capture her special moment for the world to know who she is and what she has accomplished and to inform her and her family that I am an Elm City native, living in Atlanta, for the past 21 years, that they can count on, since Bria has been signed to the Atlanta Dream.  

The third day, I took action… I first wrote a letter to the editor of my hometown paper, as I did the popular online publication publisher (who is a Hillhouse alumni). I didn’t include our weekly black publication, the "Inner City Newspaper", in any correspondences, because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, within a week of this announcement, Bria Holmes will grace the cover page of the Inner City Newspaper; Because both the publisher and editor understands the significance of highlighting the accomplishment of a black girl from the inner city of New Haven being drafted into the WNBA. (Side note: The reason it is so important for black people to support black newspapers, is to make sure we will always have a vehicle to share the story and history of black people.) The mainstream newspaper editor, who is an avid supporter of Sisters of Today and Tomorrow (SOT), immediately responded. Not quite the response I was looking for, but she acknowledged my concern.

I then began writing this piece, “Sisters Rise: Why We Matter” (inspired by the Final Call Newspaper, #BlackGirlMagic article and this year’s theme for SOT's Leadership Conference for Girls, July 14-16, 2016). This article is not only to highlight the accomplishments of the outstanding, humble Basketball star Bria Holmes, a New Haven native / James Hillhouse High School alumni, who is the 2016 first round draft pick in the WNBA, 11th overall, signed to the Atlanta Dream; but to encourage and ignite the community to take action and pride in yourself as well as each other.

Bria with former Hillhouse teammates and Coach Catrina
Hawley- Stewart.

Former Hillhouse Principal Kermit Carolina, Coach Stewart,
 Bria, her mother Carol and mentor Ty Sullivan.

Saturday night, Bria Holmes, relished in the love and support she received from the same village that has been there since day one: Her mother, aunts, mentor, fiance, AAU and high school basketball coaches, principals, teachers as well as the high school security guards, including a few good New Haven Community members, who have been a staple of New Haven pride, cheering on any young person, doing good.

Long before Hillary Clinton decided to run for President, there was Shirley Chisholm, in 1972, from Brooklyn, New York, who ran for President. The USA wasn’t ready for Chisholm, however, as the first black Congresswoman (1968), she blazed a path for women politicians. Black women – Sisters have always been pioneers… from Harriet Tubman, leading hundreds of enslaved people out of slavery through the Underground Railroad, to Fannie Lou Hamer, advocating for the rights of black people to vote; Which is the vote Hillary Clinton needs to possibly win the primary for Democratic Presidential candidacy.

There is a long list of black women pioneers who have accomplished great things, for which the many women, and girls (black, white, and other) I encounter, as well as myself, shoulders we stand on.


From First Lady Michelle Obama, to singing Icon Beyonce, to 1st woman Mayor of the City of New Haven, Toni Harp and Tyisha Walker, first woman president, in the 1800 year history of the City of New Haven Board of Alders, to New Haven Police Department 1st black woman Captain Patricia Helliger and New Haven’s own WNBA first round draft pick Bria Holmes, sisters have made and will continue to make significant contributions to society.
Captain Patricia Helliger and
Alderwoman Tyisha Walker
share their story #SOTWomenPioneers

Carla Morrison is the Founder & Executive Director of Sisters of Today and Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing girls and the women who raise them, with regards to self-esteem building, education, health & fitness and careers/entrepreneurship. She is also a 20+ year Communications veteran, specializing in print media and online content.