Deltas to Honor Community Leaders Saturday May 15
The San Bernardino-Riverside Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated will continue its tradition of honoring two outstanding community leaders during its annual Culmination program on Saturday, May 15.
The Chapter will present the inaugural Woodie Rucker Hughes Social Advocacy Award to Ms.
Jennifer Vaughn-Blakely. Since 2010 Ms. Vaughn-Blakely has chaired The Group. The highly respected Riverside-based group is a grassroots public policy organization to bring together diverse groups to address issues affecting African Americans. She and The Group were instrumental in drafting Riverside’s ethics reform code and its later expansion to cover government staff as well as elected officials.
An Inland Empire trailblazer, Ms. Vaughn-Blakely is the historical “first” in many areas of local government in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including becoming City of Fontana’s first Black Assistant City Manager in the early ‘80s. The recognition celebrates her life of political activism and professional achievement.
“We are so pleased to announce that at this year’s Culmination program, we will be giving the very first
Woodie Rucker Hughes Social Advocacy Award,” said San Bernardino-Riverside Area Alumnae Chapter President, Erica Shorts.
Waudier “Woodie” Rucker Hughes is an icon who dedicated her life to seeking social justice and protecting the civil rights of African Americans and other under-served groups. From her position as the Child Welfare Attendance Manager/District Coordinator for Homeless Education at Riverside Unified School District to serving nearly 20 years as the President of the Riverside Branch of the NAACP, she sought every opportunity to achieve fair and equitable treatment of and for others.
“Our dear Soror passed in 2018, but her indomitable spirit remains with us. It is fitting to remember and honor her legacy in this special way, and who better to be the first recipient than Ms. Jennifer Vaughn Blakely” Shorts added.
Community organizer and servant leader, Rev. Samuel Casey will receive the Dorothy Inghram Social Advocacy Award. He and his wife Tamika co-pastor New Life Christian Church in Fontana, jointly leading a ministry that seeks to change lives and grow disciples for the Lord. But away from the pulpit, Rev. Casey leads the Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (C.O.P.E.). As the Executive Director, he and his team have successfully organized outreach campaigns to support key legislative policies and initiatives focused on education and public safety reform. C.O.P.E. galvanizes groups and residents to seek the change they want to see in their communities, from eradicating the school-to-prison pipeline to participating in civic engagement and voter education campaigns.
In 2020, Rev. Casey successfully led the ReTHINK Public Safety SB Coalition in demanding that San Bernardino County declare racism a public health crisis. This award recognizes his political activism and his tireless work in and for local communities.
The Dorothy Inghram Social Action Advocate Award honors the legacy of Ms. Dorothy Ella Inghram, a longtime resident of San Bernardino who blazed the trail for black educators when in 1942, she became the first black teacher in San Bernardino County and later the first black principal. In 1953, she became the first black school district superintendent in California. Before her death in 2012 at the age of 106, she authored five books. Ms. Inghram was also a chartered member of the San Bernardino- Riverside Area Alumnae Chapter, which started in 1959.
The San Bernardino-Riverside Area Alumnae Chapter’s Culmination program will take place virtually via Zoom on Saturday, May 15, starting at 10:00 AM. The event is free, but you must register in advance. Visit the Chapter website, www.sbraac-dst.org.