SCA-NCNW History

Southern California Area NCNW was started when Meda Chamberlain was appointed Executive Director of the Southern California Area. She was followed by Hazel Isaiah Ransom and Otheta Glover who were appointed as conveners. The current President/Convener of Southern California is Dr. Helena Johnson. Lois Carson was on the national board for more than 10 years before term limits were added. She was initially a committee member and progressed to a National Vice President under Dorothy I. Height.

Southern California Area NCNW has offered several federally funded projects as well as partnerships with organizations such as United Way, The American Red Cross, as well as the City and County of Los Angeles. The most infamous project presented by SCA-NCNW was a series of Black Family Reunion that started in 1986 and is still held periodically throughout the area. A major accomplishment was the purchase of our headquarters at 3720 W. 54th St, Los Angeles.


Branches of SCA-NCNW are located in various areas throughout Southern California. There were almost twenty sections in Southern California at one time. Currently sections include Athens Westmont, Bethune, Compton, High Desert, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Mary McLeod Bethune, Long Beach, Orange County, San Diego, and View Park. In addition, there is the Los Angeles Life Member Guild and Moreno Valley Life Member Guild. We continue to provide programs to enrich families and communities. We continue to grow and hope to bring on at least two new sections this year.

The SCA-NCNW facility owned by the National Council of Negro Women is home to several community programs and is utilized as a Space Sharing resource so that there is room for many community collaboratives. We are an arm of an organization who continues to usher in new eras of social activism and progressive growth. Today we are grounded in our national foundation of critical concerns known as “Four for the Future”, STEAM, Financial Literacy and economic stability, Education, Health (mental and physical), as well as civic engagement and advocacy for sound public policy and social justice.  


President's Message

The summer has brought more than we expected when cities reopened businesses and reduced mask requirements. The one thing that most of us have been taught is that just when you think everything is going okay, something unexpected happens. We have experienced joy and pain these last few months. We have experienced the joy of giving everyone a bit of information about another section. This has added to our knowledge about one another while learning things never heard about in previous history that had been passed down. We also experienced the pain of losing our beloved icon, Lois Carson, an icon nationally as well as here in Southern California. As I use to use Dr. Cole’s analogy about wings, you will see our wonderful young people are beginning to spread wings 

Many of you have begun to learn more about one another as you work together to provide programs and events. Our younger members have stepped up to the plate and are delivering home run programs such as those presented by Avery Etuk, Chair of the Public Policy Committee who told us about California stimulant checks, as well as FEMA paying for funerals of family members whether your insurance paid or not. This month she is going to talk about the recall vote for Governor Newsom, another topic we should all have an interest in since the decision can bring devastating repercussions in the future. Remember, if there is something you want to know or have someone who can share important public policy and social justice information, please let this committee. 

We also have a Health Committee that is on fire. They are providing us with information about different diseases and illnesses each month. The committee Chair, Dr. DeVera Heard, in addition to heading up our national Good Health Wins initiative. We are going to have a great program this month, and we hope you will be a part of it. 

Sagirah Lane, Intergeneration and the Young Adult Committee Chair provided one of the best Pride and Privileged presentations you will ever hear. The presentation was presented by Jordan Clark, a dynamic speaker who will soon become very active in the Southern California Area.

Finally, we want to recognize Jamie Wright-Harrison Esq. for the fantastic work she is doing as Co-Chair of the Bethune Height Recognition Program. This is quite a learning experience for her as this is her first-time co-chairing but according to Susan Adams, SCA-NCNW Membership Chair things are going much better than anticipated. 

There are others members, I can’t name them all because I will forget someone, but you will hear from them in the near future so keep looking at what these young ladies are providing and let all of us make sure that we understand that they are experiencing what we experienced years ago (for some of us). Think about a time when someone filled your bucket (brought you joy) or when you filled someone else’s. How did it make you feel? That is how we always want those who are a part of our sisterhood to feel. 

Or primary goals for nurturing are:


  • Understand the importance of being specific when grateful (e.g., we are thankful to someone for something) Not just when they do it “our” way, but when it is done to the best of their ability.

  • Understand that gratitude as an intentional act. We learned as children to say please and thank you. We erased that bit of knowledge by learning that our responses are critiques that often show no appreciation.

  • Appreciate each other for qualities or actions reflecting our character strengths. We aren’t all the same and often things get done in a different manner, please understand that if the goal is met, it was a success.  We must all learn to recognize individual strengths. 

  • Relationship Skills - Cultivating connections and friendships. If we work as a team, sharing is the key to success. If we keep everything to ourselves, we will feel powerful which is highly overrated in today’s world but remember the words left to us by our founder “Power intelligently directed can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force.  


Just like companies, organizations grow and it becomes more challenging. Leaders must rethink the way they add value to the membership. We have learned so much about technology this past year, but when all is said and done, we have not gained very little knowledge but we have created great communications amongst the members who were able to do so in the past.  

We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.  Mary McLeod Bethune 

As we have learned recently “the only sure thing about life is that nothing stays the same.” As much as we would like for others to be just like us sometimes, we need to take inventory and understand that what is good for one is not good for all. 

Follow these seven easy steps and life will become much more comfortable for you, your board, your members, and the organizations. 


  1. Nourish A Positive Attitude. Change the way you think. ...

  2. Learn To Adapt.  

  3. Be More Mindful. ...

  4. Be Less Assertive. ...

  5. Be Less Judgmental. ...

  6. Be Responsible. ...

  7. Keep Moving Forward.


In the future, SCA-NCNW have Voter's Right’s legislature to contend with, a governor recall to help our members understand its importance, start becoming a voice in the choice of a new Mayor of Los Angeles, and continue to be a force within your community. When the name National Council of Negro Women is heard, they should realize that we are a force to be recognized 13 sections strong, not 3 or 4 individuals speaking for all so that our power can be intelligently directed. 

Dr. Helena Johnson

Dr. Helena Johnson

"A woman is free if she lives by her own standards and creates her own destiny,

if she prizes her individuality and puts no boundaries on her hopes for tomorrow."

Mary McLeod Bethune


NCNW History

The National Council of Negro Women is a coalition comprised of 200 community-based sections in 32 state and 38 national organizational affiliates that work to enlighten and inspire more than 3,000,000 women and men.
Its mission is to lead, advocate for and empower women of African descent, their families, and communities.  NCNW was founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist.


For more than fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height was president of NCNW. Today, under the leadership of Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, NCNW's programs are grounded on a foundation of critical concerns known as "Four for the Future".
NCNW promotes education with a concentrated focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math; encourages entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and economic stability, educates women about good mental and physical health practices; promotes civic engagement and advocates for sound public policy consistent with traditional values.


Our Mission

NCNW’s mission is to lead, advocate for and empower women of African descent their families and communities.

NCNW Pledge

It is our pledge to make a lasting contribution to all that is finest and best in America, to cherish and enrich her heritage of freedom and progress by working for the integration of all her people regardless of race, creed or national origin, into her spiritual, social, cultural, civic and economic life, and thus aid her to achieve the glorious destiny of a true and unfettered democracy.   

"We have a powerful potential in our YOUTH, and we must have the COURAGE to CHANGE old IDEAS and PRACTICES so that we may direct their POWER toward GOOD ENDS."

-Mary McLeod Bethune

"Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible.

With it, nothing is impossible."

Mary McLeod Bethune


Executive Board






Vice President-Programs



Second Vice President-Membership



Third Vice President- Young Adults



Recording Secretary






Financial Secretary



Corresponding Secretary




"Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough."

Mary McLeod Bethune