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NCNW Hosts Fashion Extravaganza

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ncnw-story-photoBy Eliz Dowdy

The Orange County Section of National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) hosted a table-side fashion show over the weekend in conjunction with their Phenomenal Woman Awards presentation. The locale was the Santa Ana Elks Club. After networking and perusing the vendors’ booths, the program was opened by Teddie

Carr, chair of the event; she also served as mistress of ceremonies.

Attendees sang “Lift Every Voice…” followed by the invocation by chaplain of the Section, Patty McManus.

The vendors presented a table-side showing of their products during lunch. Items consisted of clothing, handbags, jewelry and other accessories.

Historian Beatrice Jones gave a brief overview of the Section from its inception to the present. It was 1987 when Sybella Ferguson Patten returned from Washington, D.C. where she had attended a national conference presented by NCNW. She was determined to bring together fifty sisters in Orange County to start a section. It has thrived, prospered, died down to the ground and wintered over, then had a new growth in the spring time of the organization. Jones listed some of the organizations that have received assistance from NCNW - OC, pointing out Margaret Ware and Dolores Ealy-O'Neil working to make sure Black history was taught in schools to serving Thanksgiving meals.

The National Council of Negro Women owns its headquarters building situated in Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol Building.

The phenomenal women honorees were Reverend Martha Daniel and Starlerra Simmons.

Daniel is also an entrepreneur. She started a woman-owned business in Orange County in 1992 that is now listed in the $10-25 million category. The business, Information Management Resources Inc. (IMRI), provides private industry and government with the highest quality technology and engineering services. Daniel shared a quote from an essay written by her daughter in which she fondly recalled a time in rural Mississippi, visiting her grandmother--Martha's mom--who never learned to read until late in life. She worked in the homes of white women, yet valued education for her descendants. Daniel's daughter is studying to be a lawyer; she commented in the essay that she is desirous of returning to stand on that rural bluff in Mississippi with her beloved grandmother. Daniel was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy as a service-disabled veteran. She attended California Polytechnic University in Pomona where she received a bachelor's degree in Information Systems, and a master’s degree from LaVerne University in Business Administration. Prior to starting IMRI she had worked for seventeen years in a corporate environment for companies with well-known names such as Aerojet General; Bekins Transportation; ARCO; IBM; Cable Value Network, and the FDIC. She performed duties that ranged from main framing to chief information officer. She is on the ministerial staff of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine.

Star Simmons' road that led to her selection as phenomenal woman is one she definitely did not choose, but stepped into the shoes placed in her path and is walking to victory as a parent of two children who have Sickle Cell disease. To assist other parents and patients, Simmons started the Sickle Cell Foundation of Orange County whose mission is to educate, empower, and equip children, youth, young adults and adults with the authority and power to overcome the disease.

Simmons discovered that her son Charon had the disease when he was five years old. That revelation began a quest for knowledge to help her son through the pain attacks. When her daughter was born with the same challenge Simmons stated she endured their illness and started the foundation. Sighing, she stated that, “Yes, we have been through a lot, but to whom much is given, much is required.” It is about giving, she stated. She is helping others to navigate the tunnels, curves and mountainous steep turns of the disease. Charon was in the news last fall when he went through a major crisis and was medically not present in his body.

The motto if the Sickle Cell Foundation is “Living by Design, not by Diagnosis.” At the end of the day, what do your foot prints say about where you have been.

Sickle Cell disease is a life-long blood disease that is characterized by red blood cells assuming an abnormal rigid sickle shape. This abnormality decreases the cells’ flexibility. It shortens the life-span of those affected, and primarily attacks African American people in the United States.

Star's children are 22 and 9 years of age. Charon is currently attending college.

Teddy Carr thanked the attendees for their attendance, as they stopped to visit the vendors’ booths.

President of NCNW - OC is Cathy Woodard. For additional information about the Section visit their website:

Written by: Precinct Reporter Group

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