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New Haven Metropolitan Chapter's History

​Approximately 50 years ago, Edna Beach was inspired to develop a coalition of women to help young women who may have been victims of gender inequities and civil injustices.  That initial platform expanded to the Coalition of 100 Black Women, which was launched in New York in 1970.  The Coalition continued the successful implementation of socio-economic and political strategies that began in the mid-1960s. The initial group known as the Coalition of 100 Black Women was chartered as a national non-profit organization in 1981.  Jewell Jackson McCabe was its first National President. Membership nationwide is comprised of a diverse group of professional African American women: physicians, attorneys, entrepreneurs, artists, educators, journalists, accountants, municipal court judges, university administrators, corporate managers, labor leaders, public relations specialists, consultants, and elected officials. This cross-section of women are advocates and offer resources and expertise to implement structured action and be the voice for Black communities. 

The New Haven Metropolitan chapter initiated by Valencia A. Goodridge, along with organizing members Karrol-Ann Brown, Esq., Cerise Garrett, Melba Lee, Alice Coleman, and Miriam James, held its first interest meeting on June 13, 2015.  Over twenty professional women gathered and decisively determined to become an NCBW interest group, to work towards a national goal of making a difference in the lives of Black women and girls.  The NCBW Organizing Group comprised of 35 women, developed specific taskforces outlining national advocacy goals to launch a platform to be the voice for women and girl in Connecticut communities. Bylaws were adopted on April 18, 2016, and elections were held thereafter. On May 15, 2016, documents were approved by NCBW’s national office to allow chartering of the New Haven Metropolitan Chapter.  On September 10, 2016, the New Haven Metropolitan Chapter was chartered, and the 8th National President, Michelle McNeill-Emery, installed chartering officers: 



Valencia A. Goodridge, President

Cerise Garrett, 1st Vice President

Miriam James, 2nd Vice President

Karrol-Ann Brown, 3rd Vice President

Jennifer Walker, Treasurer

Genese Clark, Secretary

Lisa Willis, Financial Secretary

Jenell Lawson, Parliamentarian

Jodyann Prendergast, Historian

Rona Durham, Chaplain

Additionally, 33 courageous women committed to advocacy were pinned as members of the New Haven Metropolitan Chapter, the ceremony was held at the New Haven Lawn Club on September 10, 2016. 

Ann Abraham

Shirley D. Anderson

Patrice Antoine

Gwendolyn Brantley

Alice S. Coleman 

Victoria Dancy

Tianko Ellison

Nicola Gardner

Lorraine Gibbons

Valerie King

Elizabeth Lamour   


This dynamic group of founding members is committed to advocating for the empowerment of black women and girls to advance gender equity in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment.


Shortly thereafter, the Chapter petitioned for and was granted its 501(c)(3) status. Since its inauguration, the Chapter has been actively involved in several program initiatives to enhance the lives of Black women and girls. One of the first initiatives was the launch of a 6 month Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math (S.T.E.A.M.) Program for girls.  Partnerships were formed between New Haven and Bridgeport Public schools, community based organizations, and CT professionals that would continue to benefit the girls and women in our communities.   

Melba Lee 

Valita Luckett

Vicky Mariconde

Stephanie Paris-Cooper

Susan R. Samuels

Adrienne Sanders

Denise A. Sands

Travata Stewart

Marcia Tompkins- Toliver

Carolyn Vermont

Veronica Wilkins

Barbara A. Wright

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