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Join us on April 20, 2024, as we commemorate a significant milestone - the 75th Anniversary of the Raleigh (NC) Chapter of the Links Incorporated. Get ready for an unforgettable experience at our Diamond Jubilee Day Party! We have organized a variety of festivities to mark 75 years of dedicated service to our incredible Raleigh-Wake community. As a part of our 75th Anniversary Celebration, we will host our 14th Annual Emerald Awards ceremony, where we will recognize the achievements of five outstanding women.  All proceeds from our event support scholarships, grants and promoting economic growth and empowerment.  Your investment, participation, and support enable us to lead in our local community.  Learn more about our efforts and ways to support our 75th Anniversary Campaign: Empowering a Healthy Economy.

Experience the unforgettable journey of jubilation and appreciation as The Raleigh (NC) Links and the Links Incorporated come together for a grand celebration of community excellence. Grab your tickets because this is an experience you won't want to miss! We are proud to host the 75th Diamond Jubilee in collaboration with The Links Foundation, Incorporated.

                                      Honoree Facet Category: Services to Youth, Minnie Forte-Brown, Founding member Durham’s Children’s Initiative


                                      Minnie Forte-Brown is a Durham native and a prominent figure in the field of public school advocacy and education leadership. She has                                              held key roles such as President of the NC School Boards Association, officer positions in national education organizations, and significant                                          contributions in her community. Elected to the Durham Public Schools Board of Education in 2004, she held key positions, including                                                    chairperson from 2006 to 2012 and vice-chair from 2012 to 2015.  Forte-Brown has been actively involved at the state level, with roles such as president of the North Carolina School Boards Association, a position she assumed on November 15, 2018, after serving on its Board of Directors since 2010.

In addition to her board roles, Forte-Brown has contributed to education in various capacities, including as a university professor at NC Central University. Her statewide impact extends to appointments on the NC Council of the Status of Women and the NC Gang Advisory Task Force. Moreover, she is a co-founder of the East Durham Children’s Initiative.

Forte-Brown's is a native of Durham and a graduate of Hillside High School. She holds a bachelor's degree in speech and English from Saint Augustine's University and a master's degree in speech pathology and audiology from North Carolina Central University. She pursued doctoral studies at Howard University in Theory and Rhetoric in the School of Communication. Before retiring, she worked as a communications specialist and master teacher in the Department of English and Mass Communications at NC Central University.

This accomplished leader's dedication to education has earned her national recognition, reflected in her roles with the National School Boards Association and the Council of Urban Boards of Education. Forte-Brown's impact goes beyond her professional achievements, as she continues to make significant contributions to education in her community and beyond. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and White Rock Baptist Church. She has one daughter and two grandsons and is married to Roger A. Brown.​   





                                         Honoree Facet Category: The Arts, Dr. Laura Bethea, Chairperson, African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh, and Wake County                                                     Governing Board of Directors

                                         Dr. Laura Bethea, a distinguished Higher Education Scholar-Administrator, currently serves in multiple roles at Wake Technical Community                                           College. With over two decades in higher education, she champions diversity, equity, and inclusion, emphasizing student success and a                                             culture of care. Dr. Bethea also contributes as an Equity Coach and Title IX Advisory Board Member with the N.C. Community College System. Recently earning an international licensure as a Qualified Administrator for Intercultural Development, she extends her impact to public and private industries. Additionally, she serves as a board member for the Bowe House organization, focusing on the restoration of historical landmarks in black communities.


Her educational journey includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from N.C. Central University, a Masters in Science in Rehabilitation Psychology & Counseling from UNC Chapel Hill, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University.

Her leadership role as the Chair of the Governing Board for the African American Cultural Festival (AACF) marks a historic milestone, showcasing her commitment to bridging the arts and higher education. Under her leadership, she has fostered a partnership between AACF and Wake Technical Community College, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Dr. Bethea's community engagement extends to hosting events, panel discussions, and business spotlights, showcasing Black and women entrepreneurs.

Driven by a passion for service, she has dedicated 18 years as a NC 4-H Volunteer Leader and actively contributes to the Knightdale-Wake Forest Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she serves as Chair of the Physical and Mental Health Committee.

Born and raised in Lumberton, NC, she currently resides in Durham for the past 20 years, and is engaged to Gregory Lewis.

                                        Honoree Facet Category: National Trends and Services, Yvette Holmes, CEO of Southeast Raleigh Promise


                                        Yvette Holmes is the CEO of Southeast Raleigh Promise, a non-profit  organization located in the heart of Raleigh’s historically black                                                  community. She leads a dedicated team of professionals that shape and implement strategies, attract and leverage investment, build                                                relationships, and cultivate cross-sector partnerships. The goal: to ensure that Southeast Raleigh residents and small businesses have                                                  access to equitable opportunities to grow, thrive, and prosper.

Southeast Raleigh Promise is part of the Purpose Built Communities National Network, and the first in Raleigh/Wake County. The place-based model focuses on achieving improved outcomes in the areas of mixed income housing, economic mobility, education, and health and wellness. Located along Rock Quarry Road in southeast Raleigh, the Beacon Site is a local expression of the Purpose Built Communities model, developed through strategic partnerships with Southeast Raleigh Promise serving as the community quarterback organization. The 32-acre campus is home to the Southeast Raleigh YMCA; SE Raleigh Elementary School; Beacon Ridge affordable apartment homes; and Beacon Point, a scheduled to open in fall 2024.   


For more than two decades, Yvette has been a resident of Southeast Raleigh, where she also has provided leadership and technical support to assist the start-up and growth of small nonprofits and community-based coalitions focused on improving neighborhoods and addressing the needs of residents.


Yvette studied Computer Science at Morgan State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from William Peace University and an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from N. C. Central University. Yvette is a 2023 Leadership Triangle Goodmon Fellow and an inaugural honoree of the Triangle Business Journal Peak 25.


Yvette is married, and she has three sons and three granddaughters. She enjoys time with family, creative writing, and trips to the beach. She believes in hopeful possibilities and in the undeniable promise we hold individually and as a community.

                                              Honoree Facet Category: International Trends and Services,

                                              Dr. Christine Grant, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University

                                              Dr. Christine Grant, a distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State since 1989, served as the                                                            Inaugural Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement in the College of Engineering from 2008 to 2022. In this role, she oversaw faculty                                                  development, promotion, tenure, and post-tenure review.

In 2022, Dr. Grant made history as the first African-American woman to become the President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), a global organization with 60,000+ members in 110 countries.

Her academic journey includes Chemical Engineering degrees from Brown University (Sc.B.) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (M.S. and Ph.D.). As a Principal Investigator for numerous National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, she focused on expanding participation in programs such as ADVANCE, EFRI, and REU, with a strong emphasis on mentorship for underrepresented minorities (URM) and women in STEM.

Dr. Grant is widely recognized for her leadership, receiving prestigious awards and has contributed to publications and co-edited books addressing diversity in STEM.

Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Grant is known for motivational keynotes, career coaching, and professional development workshops worldwide. Through her consulting firm (, she tailors custom STEM programs for corporate and academic settings.

With her husband, an engineer, she has dedicated over 33 years to supporting educational initiatives in Ghana. They take pride in their son, Kofie Yeboah, who is an esports writer/engagement editor at SB Nation.

As a committed member of Wake Chapel Church and The Fountain of Raleigh Fellowship, Dr. Christine Grant continues to inspire communities through her unwavering dedication to STEM education and diversity initiatives.


                                       Honoree Facet Category: Health and Human Services,

                                       Dr. Nerissa Price, Mental Health and Wellness, WakeMed and Price Psychiatry PPLC

                                       Dr. Nerissa Price is a native of Wake County. She earned her medical degree and completed a Fellowship in Child and Adolescent                                                       Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Additionally, she is Board-Certified in General Psychiatry.


                                       With a career dedicated to enhancing the well-being of those struggling with mental health challenges and those who are marginalized in                                         our society, Dr. Price brings over 20 years of experience. She has worked with various institutions including UNC School of Medicine,                                                 Daymark Recovery Services, Correctional Institute for Women with the NC Department of Public Safety, WakeMed, and in her private                                                 practice.

During her time at WakeMed, Dr. Price served as the medical director for Behavioral Health Community Case Management and led WakeMed’s homeless outreach team (H.E.A.R.T). She also held the position of medical director of WakeMed Physician Practices Well-Being Initiatives, focusing on improving provider well-being through the promotion of a culture of wellness, work-life integration, and joy in work. Recently, she assumed the role of Behavioral Health Medical Director for Amerihealth Caritas of North Carolina.

Dr. Price is a member of the "Sister Circle," a collective of African-American female physicians who collaborated to elevate vaccination rates in Black and Latin-X communities in SE Raleigh.

Driven by her passion for assisting individuals in achieving their life's purpose through the attainment and maintenance of mental health wellness, Dr. Price continues to make meaningful contributions in the field.


2023 Emerald Award Recipients

Paulette R. Dillard, PhD, Services to Youth
Tamara Holmes Brothers, PhD, The Arts
Cheryl Williams, National Trends and Services
Sandra K. Johnson, PhD, International Trends and Services
Terry W. Spicer, Health and Human Services

2022 Emerald Award Recipients

Valerie Lynn Willis, Services to Youth
Lakeshia T. Reid, The Arts
Omisade Burney-Scott, National Trends and Services
Siobahn Day Grady, PhD, International Trends and Services
Marie Georgette Debnam, MD and Marjorie Lynette Debnam, MD, Health and Human Services

2021 Emerald Award Recipients

Jacqueline L. Mims, Services to Youth

Nneena Freelon, The Arts

Yvonne Lewis Holley, National Trends and Services

Felicia Browne-Lherrison, International Trends and Services

Gayle Bridges Harris, Health and Human Services


2019 Emerald Award Recipients

Doris J. Bullock, Services to Youth

Monét Noelle Marshal, The Arts

Dawn Blagrove, National Trends and Services

Tsegga S. Medhin, International Trends and Services

Regina Y. Petteway, Health and Human Services


2018 Emerald Award Recipients

Syliva Wiggins, Services to Youth

Dr. Cicely E. Mitchell, The Arts

Jessica Holmes, National Trends and Services

Juni Asiyo, International Trends and Services

Dr. Wendy Brewster, Health and Human Services


2016 Emerald Award Recipients

Raquel Battle, International Trends and Services

Dr. Elsie Leak,  Services to Youth

Nancy Pinckney, The Arts

Dr. Portia W. Rochelle, National Trends and Services
Dr. Kamala Latori Uzzell-Jones, Health and Human Services)


2015 Emerald Award Recipients

Kelly Starling Lyons, Services to Youth

Eleanora E. Tate, The Arts

Betty Camp, National Trends and Services

M. Iyailu Moses, Ed. D., International Trends and Services

Belinda Pettiford, Health and Human Services


2014 Emerald Award Recipients

Iris Peoples Green, Services to Youth

Lonieta Cornwal, Ed. D., The Arts

Cassandra Deck-Brown, National Trends and Services

Esteria J. Woods-White, International Trends and Services

Laura I. Gerald, Health and Human Services


2013 Emerald Award Recipients

Joyce Robinson, Services to Youth

Dr. Patricia Caple, The Arts

Octavia Rainey, National Trends and Services

Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, International Trends and Services

Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum, Health and Human Services


2012 Emerald Award Recipients

Brenda High Sanders, Services to Youth

Beverly McIver, The Arts

Andrea Harris, National Trends and Services

Helen Asemota, PhD, International Trends and Services

Leah Brown, Health and Human Services*

*In 2012, Health and Human Services was added as an additional National Facet.


2011 Emerald Award Recipients

Symonetta Higgs, Services to Youth

Zelda Lockhart, The Arts

Eva Clayton, National Trends and Services

Yvonne Coston, PhD, International Trends and Services


2010 Emerald Award Recipients 

Calla Bethel Wright, Services to Youth

Jaki Shelton Green, The Arts

Barbara Pullen-Smith, National Trends and Services

LaHoma Romocki, PhD, International Trends and Services

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