Service to All Mankind – AKAs Leading the Way
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (known as “AKA”) is the nation’s first African-American Greek-letter sorority, founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University. AKA was founded on a mission comprised of five basic tenets that have remained unchanged since the sorority’s inception more than a century ago. Known for their pink and green colors, pearls and the pinky hand gesture, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of “Service to All Mankind".
Throughout its 111-year history, the sorority’s service programs have been consistently centered around significant issues that affect society, including local communities and the global community at-large. From 2018 – 2022, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is Exemplifying Excellence Through Sustainable Service by implementing five targets focused on improving our community - HBCU for Life: A Call to Action; Women’s Healthcare and Wellness; Building Your Economic Legacy; The Arts!; and Global Impact.
In addition to focusing activities on these five targets, AKA has exemplified excellence through Community Impact Days, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Pink Goes Red for Heart Health Day, AKA Global Impact Day, International Day of Prayer, HBCU Week, Breast Cancer Awareness Day and AKA Caregivers’ Day Observance.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Theta Theta Omega Chapter
Over fifty years ago, 12 visionary women came together in Las Vegas on May 23, 1965 to charter the local chapter: Theta Theta Omega. Theta Theta Omega chapter conducts numerous service activities in the Las Vegas valley, including food drives, mentor programs, scholarship programs and support for homeless youth and veterans, to name a few. Two of Theta Theta Omega’s annual signature programs include “Thanksgiving Baskets” – an event that provides the ingredients for a full Thanksgiving meal to seniors and siblings raising their grandchildren and siblings, respectively; and “Economic Summit” – a program designed to teach teenagers and young adults the importance of financial stability and preparation.
Theta Theta Omega Chapter will celebrate its 55th Anniversary in 2020 at its signature Emerald Ball which raises money for scholarships. The 2020 event is titled “Pink Pearl Derby Affair”, a Kentucky Derby themed celebration. For more information, please visit www.lv20pearls.org.
President Berna Rhodes-Ford
AKA TTO President Berna Rhodes-Ford is no stranger to service. She has served as the head of numerous organizations, including President of the Las Vegas Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Chair of the Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs, Chair of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council Nevada Forum, and President of the Southern Nevada National Association of Women Business Owners. As President of the Theta Theta Omega Chapter of AKA, Rhodes-Ford’s theme is S.E.R.V.E. – Support Employer Renew Validate and Engage. Along with self-care and sisterly concern, Rhodes-Ford encourages her sorority sisters to support the aims of the sorority and engage in the community. And, her sisters have done just that.
AKAs serve in leadership in nearly every African-American social organization in the valley, including as president of the following: AKA Theta Theta Omega Chapter, AKA Psi Upsilon Omega Chapter, Top Ladies of Distinction Starlight Chapter, Top Ladies of Distinction Greater Las Vegas Chapter, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Las Vegas Chapter, The Society, Charms, Inc., The Links, Incorporated Las Vegas (NV) Chapter, Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star Desert Rose Grand Chapter, and 20 Pearls Foundation.
Additionally, AKAs play key roles in professional and government services, including Chair of the Gaming Control Board, Director of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Chair of the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, Chair of the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors, Executive Director of Courageous Conversation Global Foundation and President of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
To understand the scope of TTO’s reach throughout the valley and the state, more information about the organizations the AKA members lead is provided here.
Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star
Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star was founded in 1874. Desert Rose Grand Chapter of Las Vegas Nevada was chartered in 1981. Silver Star Chapter #1 conducts an annual Sip & Paint to raise donations for those who are in need or to families who need help during the holidays.
Zulema Wilson is the Worthy Matron (president) of the Silver Star Chapter #1. She was initiated into AKA TTO in 2018.
Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was founded in 1938. The Las Vegas Chapter was chartered in 1992. Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2 to 19, dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.
The Las Vegas Chapter of Jack and Jill is headed by Sandra Douglass Morgan. Morgan has been a member of AKA since 1999 and a member of TTO Chapter since 2004. She has served in numerous positions within the chapter, including Chair of AKA Day at the Capitol and Chair of the Social Justice and Human Rights Initiative.
Charms, Inc. was founded in 1962. The Las Vegas Chapter was chartered in 2011. Charms, Inc. is a social, civic and cultural organization noted for sponsoring activities that are beneficial to communities throughout the country. Its signature program is the Brunch for M’Lady annual event at which it presents the Ruby Garland Woman of Distinction Award, appropriately named for one its revered charter members.
Brown has been a member of AKA since she was initiated into TTO Chapter in 1994. Brown has served in numerous capacities in TTO, including president, and she currently serves as parliamentarian and representative to the National Panhellenic Council.
Top Ladies of Distinction
Top Ladies of Distinction was founded in 1964. The mission of TLOD is invest in our communities, as well, as ourselves, through: (1) Volunteer service; (2) Advocacy and accountability; (3) Leadership development and succession planning; (4) Unity and collaboration; (5) Engagement and empowerment; and (6) Social responsibility and sisterly concern.
The Starlight Chapter, led by Carrie Peery, was chartered in 1994. Its signature program is the Paint the Town Red Event which highlights notable members in the community. Peery has also served as Chair of 20 Pearls Foundation. She currently serves as Chair of the Standards Committee of the AKA TTO chapter.
The Greater Las Vegas Chapter, with Clair Hart at the helm, was chartered in 2019. Its signature program is Bow Ties and Stilettos Day Party, a fundraiser for Programs and Scholarship. Hart has been a member of AKA since 1979 and a member of TTO Chapter since 1992. She has served in several capacities within TTO, including member-at-large and membership chairman.
The Society Incorporated Supporting the Arts
The Society Incorporated Supporting the Arts was founded in 1983 with a mission to expose, educate, support and promote the unserved and underserved youth in the visual and performing arts.
The local chapter is guided by Quincella Rivers, also a charter member. The chapter’s signature program is the Little Black Dress luncheon, an annual fundraiser that provides the organization with funds to give stipends, pay for student music and dance lessons, and provide funding for students to attend workshops and conferences. At the luncheon, students have a platform to showcase their talent. Rivers was initiated into AKA in 1999 into the TTO Chapter. Rivers currently serves as Co-Chair of The Arts! Program Target.
20 Pearls Foundation
20 Pearls Foundation was founded in 2007. This non-profit, charitable foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of the residents in the greater Las Vegas community through service in the areas of family and children, women’s issues and education. Kechia English is the Chairman of 20 Pearls, whose signature program is the Hats and Heels High Tea to raise funds for aspiring college students. English has been a member of AKA since 1984 and a member of TTO Chapter since 1991. She currently serves as recording secretary of TTO.
Professional and Government Organizations
Courageous Conversation Global Foundation
The mission of Courageous Conversation Global Foundation is to elevate racial consciousness through interracial healing. We practice this healing through training and development to deepen our collective understanding of racial justice. Through this practice, the Foundation promotes and supports communities, locally and globally, in achieving racial equity and social justice.
One of the foundation’s programs is Courageous Community Transformation. It is designed to equip communities with the skills to engage across racial lines while using collective impact strategies to achieve social justice goals across all sectors. Andrea Johnson is Executive Director. She was initiated into AKA in 2008 and joined TTO in 2017.
Director of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation
Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s (“DETR”) mission is to provide job training and placement, workforce services for people with disabilities, investigate claims of workplace discrimination, collect and analyze workforce related data and support economic development efforts by improving the state’s workforce. DETR's divisions include: Employment Security Division, Nevada Equal Rights Commission, the Rehabilitation Division, Research and Analysis Bureau, and Information Development and Processing.
Dr. Tiffany G. Tyler-Garner was appointed Director of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) by Governor Steve Sisolak. In this capacity, she serves as a member of the Governor’s cabinet overseeing the daily operations of DETR which includes more than 1,000 staff members in several offices throughout the state. Tyler-Garner was initiated into AKA TTO in 2016.
National Association of Black Journalists
National Association of Black Journalists was founded in 1975. NABJ contributes to an understanding of our cultural identity, endeavors to improve the sensibilities of the media establishment to the needs and concerns of black people, and serves as role models and provide resources to students interested in pursuing careers in journalism and mass communications.
The Las Vegas Chapter (NABJ-Las Vegas) was re-established in 2019 by President, Latoya Silmon who also serves as an Anchor at KSNV News 3, Las Vegas. NABJ-Las Vegas is planning student and professional workshops along with fundraisers to provide scholarships for students. Silmon was initiated into AKA in 2000 and joined TTO in 2017.
Nevada Equal Rights Commission
The Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) oversees the state's Equal Employment Opportunity program, handling employment discrimination complaints relating to Race, National Origin, Color, Religion, Sex, Pregnancy, Sexual Orientation, Age, Disability, Genetic Information, Gender Identity or Expression, Criminal Background (public employers only). NERC also has jurisdiction in Nevada to investigate allegations of discrimination in housing and places of public accommodation. My role is to lead the five-person commission in fulfillment of the agency’s mission.
On July 30, 2019, Red Rock Country Club agreed to a settlement with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission amid allegations that it racially discriminated against a tennis coach by firing her and denying her the opportunity to use day-care services for her biracial children while other employees were allowed to use the services. The settlement, which does not preclude a federal lawsuit or a possible financial settlement, will include policy manual updates and anti-discrimination training. Connye Harper is Chair of NERC. Harper was initiated into AKA in 1968 and joined TTO in 2015.
Nevada Gaming Control Board
The Nevada Gaming Control Board governs Nevada’s gaming industry through strict regulation of all persons, locations, practices, associations and related activities. The Board is charged with protecting the integrity and stability of the industry through in-depth investigative procedures, exacting licensing practices, strict enforcement of laws and regulations holding gaming licensees to high standards. Through these practices, the Board ensures the proper collection of taxes and fees, an essential source of revenue for the State of Nevada.
Sandra Douglass Morgan serves as Chairwoman and Executive Director. In that capacity, she manages a $44 million dollar budget and approximately 400 employees across 5 cities in the state of Nevada.
Susan G. Komen Nevada
Susan G. Komen Nevada’s mission is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
Komen has invested more than $30 million in grants to fund research with a focus on aggressive and metastatic cancers. Komen also introduced the Treatment Assistance Fund that affords women access to supplemental financial help once diagnosed. Tanya Flanagan is President of the Susan G. Komen Nevada Board of Directors. She was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority into the Theta Theta Omega chapter in 1998.
The members of Theta Theta Omega Chapter have S.E.R.V.E.d and will continue to S.E.R.V.E. the Las Vegas valley, Clark County and the state. They hope you will join them in their efforts as they work to make our living conditions better. To learn more about TTO’s programs and events, you may visit www.akatto.com.