Black Canadian Women you Need to Know About!

The following article was written by Natasha McDonough, a member of the Zeta Epsilon chapter at Carleton University. 

Delta Phi Epsilon chapters all across the US and Canada collectively pride ourselves on the values our womxn hold. Our pillars: Justice, Sisterhood, and Love unite all our members, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, and cultural/religious belief. These pillars encourage us to be our best selves through internal growth. Focusing on areas such as scholarship, sisterhood, self [improvement], and social [relations] – our 5 “S’s” – members reach goals and empower one another, contributing to the betterment of our communities. 

During Black History Month, acknowledging as many of the courageous Black women who have challenged adversities and demonstrated resilience carries importance, as well as remembering that these experiences continue to shape how our members associate the 5 S’s to our lives. The greatness attained by many Black women throughout history is far beyond our wildest dreams. In this article, we’ll be acknowledging [a few] Black women both past and present, who lead monumental changes/advocacy initiatives in Canada.

Rosemary Brown

Rosemary Brown embodies our values held in the areas of Scholarship and Service. Born in Jamaica, Rosemary immigrated to Canada in 1951 to pursue post-secondary education in the field of Social Work. Rosemary Brown was a determined woman, despite facing racism and sexism at a young age, she preserved working as an advocate, politician, philanthropist, and activist. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree as well as her Master’s degree both in the field of Social Work she worked for social welfare organizations such as Children’s Aid Society. At this time, Rosemary dived into her passion for activism, pursuing endeavors with the British Columbia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and Voice of Women. As touched on earlier, Rosemary was also a strong, accomplished, and fearless politician in Canada, known for being the first Black woman elected to the Canadian Provincial Legislature, which she accomplished in British Columbia. For individuals interested in Canadian politics, her name may be recognizable, as she ran in the 1975 Federal election, leading the New Democratic Party. Rosemary had always had an internal fire driving her to engage in political advocacy, even before her more known accomplishments. As a Black woman analyzing politics with a feminist perspective, she had an insightful grasp on the changes necessary in Canada. Rosemary started notably in the 1960s, beginning to use her voice on a wider scale. With power, she pushed back against the oppressive higher governments in Canada that contributed to racism, sexism, discrimination, and the absence of basic human rights for marginalized communities. The positive impact Rosemary Brown had within Canada did not go unnoticed. She received many awards in later years, including fifteen honorary doctorates awarded from universities in Canada, the Order of British Columbia in 1995, and being selected as an officer of the Order of Canada in 1996.

Angela James

Any avid hockey fan will recognize this name: Angela James. If you’re not a hockey fan or you’re someone who enjoys watching the game instead of memorizing every player and their statistics, we’ll be diving into James’ history as she became the “Wayne Gretzky of Women’s Hockey.” Angela James was one of the two first women, the second Black (but the first Black woman) hockey player, and the first openly gay hockey player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Her success was not obtained easily, and at a young age faced racism and poverty. Angela was born in Toronto, Ontario, raised by her mother, along with her six siblings. Her passion for hockey started when she was 8-years old when she began playing street hockey in Flemingdon Park, the neighborhood where she grew up. Growing up in a low-income household, in a mostly white and impoverished neighborhood, she faced many barriers. Angela struggled in school, witnessed unspeakable dangerous situations within her neighborhood, and often would fight with other girls – usually due to being a Black woman. Angela coped by concentrating on her passion for the sport. She has expressed publicly that the game of hockey acted as her “escape” and her “savior” from all the negative situations. She started playing in a local boys’ hockey team, but unfortunately, that ended (a decision was made by overlooking an official that didn’t allow girls to play on boys’ hockey teams), forcing her to play in a non-local women’s hockey league.  Her mother went the extra mile to allow her to play the game, sometimes traveling long ways by bus, but Angela strived for greatness and went off to set records playing college hockey. Angela was known as a well-rounded player, and her skill level contributed to her being coined as the first woman superstar in hockey. Angela James won World Championships but was not on the roster for the 1998 Olympic team because her strength at that time was compromised by Graves’ Disease. Nevertheless, Angela James’ influence goes far beyond hockey, setting scoring records, or winning medals. At the core, Angela’s journey is not one of a kind; other Black women can relate to the adversities faced by Angela, and therefore Angela James’ and her life experiences serve as a reminder that race, gender, sexuality, upbringing, etc., determine what one can accomplish, and success can come from the harshest of adversities. Within Delta Phi Epsilon, one of the areas where our members strive to excel is “self”, which can be described as cultivating physical, emotional, and personal improvement. The resilience shown by Angela James represents “self”, constantly working towards improvement to reach her goals, no matter the barrier in her way.

Viola Desmond

She’s the face on the Canadian ten-dollar bill and a leader in the civil rights movement. Viola Desmond fought against racial injustice with strength and conviction. Growing up, Viola’s family were active within the Black community and respected members of many organizations in Nova Scotia. Viola aspired to be an accomplished businesswoman, an example set by her parents and wished to go to beauty school. At the time, beauty schools located in Nova Scotia did not allow for Black individuals to enroll, regardless she continued to pursue her goal by enrolling at a beauty school in Montreal. Later, she would further her education, relocating to practice her skills in New York and Atlantic City. Viola’s persistence would aid her in reaching her goal and find success in creating beauty products that were sold out of Desmond School of Beauty Culture, which she founded to allow Black women to access beauty school training that was seldomly available to Black women in Canada at that time. The success that Viola worked for would be ultimately be halted, at the hands of racial discrimination when she attended the Roseland Theatre to see a movie, waiting for her car repairs to be completed, while on route to attend a business meeting. The theatre refused to sell her a main floor ticket in the movie theatre, as the main floor was reserved as a “whites-only section.” Although racial segregation was not outwardly permitted by Canadian law, the practice of separating based on race existed and justified through other unrelated laws. Regardless, Viola decided that she was not going to comply with a practice enforcing racial discrimination and chose a seat on the main floor. The manager approached Viola, claiming that he had the right to refuse admission, and requested that she leave the main floor, but Viola refused by arguing that she had already been allowed admission when she was sold her ticket. Viola offered to exchange the ticket for a main floor seat, and pay the difference, but instead, she was forcibly removed by authorities, arrested, and subsequently charged with tax evasion. Viola Desmond endured a series of trials within many court jurisdictions, supported by the Black community in Nova Scotia, but all attempts to overturn her conviction produced unfavorable results. The racial injustices that Viola endured were the catalyst, fuelling the civil rights movement in Nova Scotia. Needless to say, Viola’s unwillingness to conform to segregation practices set an example for Black communities to demand equality and use their voice to inspire change. The elemental features present in the values that Delta Phi Epsilon womxn seek to uphold are reminiscent of Viola Desmond’s effort to achieve racial justice. From pursuing our education to meet our aspirations, the collective desire to support our communities through philanthropic endeavors, and creating bonds founded on similar beliefs empowering women; the 5 S’s members actively engage in to improve ourselves, people we know, and our communities, can to some extent reflect the essence of Viola Desmond.


Get to Know the Team

What better way to get to know someone than their horoscope and go to snack? Those are the questions we asked our 2021 – 2022 consultants about five minutes after they accepted their job! Read below for a little insight into our newest ILCs…

Molly Ennis, Senior ILC 

Gamma Iota chapter at Bridgewater State University

Oxford, MA

What is your sign? Cancer. But my moon is in Virgo and rising star is in Pisces. 

Go to snack? A smoothie or smoothie bowl 

Favorite lyric? Clique by Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean 

What is your morning routine? Wake up, take my pup out and feed her, make myself coffee and avocado toast, brush my teeth, wash my face, journal about my thoughts and then get changed and start my day!

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? I want to hug all my friends and family that I haven’t seen or been able to hug in forever. 

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? I look forward to continuing to support chapters in their endeavors to be inclusive role models on their campuses for Fraternity and Sorority Life. 

Donna Rovito, Senior ILC 

Phi Phi chapter at Towson University

Charlotte Hall, MD

What is your sign? Scorpio – leo moon and rising

Go to snack?  Goldfish or trail mix 

What is your morning routine? Get up, stretch, make a shake, and check my email 

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? Go to a concert 

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? I am looking forward to meeting a new group of sisters both on the ilc team and undergraduate members. 

Taylor Bradberry, First Year Consultant

Gamma Omega chapter at University of North Georgia

Winder, GA

What is your sign? Aries  

Go to snack?  Goldfish, fruit, chips and dip 

Favorite lyric? “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere” Belle from Beauty and the Beast 

What is your morning routine? Usually wake up around 9 am on weekdays. I check my phone and cuddle my dog, Herschel. Herschel and I then go outside to go on our morning walk. Come back inside and then feed him. Then, it’s time for me to get ready. I go to the bathroom, shower, brush teeth, and fix my hair. Then I put on makeup and get dressed for the day. I go and make my usual breakfast of eggs, spinach, toast, and hashbrowns. I eat my breakfast and drink coffee while checking emails, catching up on the news, and go on social media. Once I’m finished, I pack my snacks for work and clean up. I give Herschel a pet goodbye and then I’m out the door to be at work by 11! 

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? Travel! 

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as an ILC? I am looking forward to meeting so many new people and finding lifelong connections! As well as, serving this sorority that has added so much to my life! 

Charlotte Haston, First Year Consultant

Zeta Iota chapter at Northern Arizona University

Big Bear City, CA 

What is your sign? Aquarius

Go to snack? M&Ms!

Favorite lyric?“Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul and it’s the only thing that I know.” 

What is your morning routine? Listening to piano music, journaling, going over my planner and drinking an iced green tea latte!

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? The first thing I want to do when life goes back to normal is go to a Justin Bieber concert! 

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? One thing I look forward to this year is meeting new people and forming lasting connections!

Audrey McConnell, First Year Consultant

Epsilon Iota chapter at SUNY College at Geneseo

Fabius, NY

What is your sign? I am a Gemini sun, aqua moon, sag rising

Go to snack? Diet Coke and baby peppers (with cream cheese of course) 

Favorite lyric? Ten Years Gone by Led Zeppelin: then as it was, then again it will be. And though the course may change sometimes, rivers always reach the sea 

What is your morning routine? Wake up, check phone, say hi to roommate and her puppy, shower, face routine, makeup if I’m feeling fancy, pick my outfit of the day, and always a large breakfast – usually a bacon egg and cheese on bagel 

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? First thing I want to do is see Remi Wolf in concert!!!!!!!!:)

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? Something I look forward to this year is meeting all of the ILCs and IHQ staff and literally getting started! This is a dream come true for me and I am counting down the days until we begin 

Rebecca Westrom, First Year Consultant

Phi Pi chapter at Widener University

Harleysville, PA 

What is your sign? Scorpio

Go to snack? Chocolate every single day

Favorite lyric? Anything by The 1975- their music is so relatable and calming after a long day

What is your morning routine? I always go on my phone and look at social media and check emails and things and then I get out of bed make two eggs for an egg and bagel sandwich (with some “everything but the bagel” seasoning on it of course!) and I’ll eat, brush my teeth, get dressed, and get my day going (most days there’s coffee thrown in there too)!

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? When life gets back to normal I want to travel again; I’ll probably go to Maine first to visit my best friend!

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? One thing I’m looking forward to this year is meeting a ton of new people and taking on a more official role as a mentor for all of the different leadership teams/chapters DPhiE has! 

Isabella Portincaso, First Year Consultant

Delta Upsilon chapter at University of Tampa

Crystal Lake, IL

What is your sign? Virgo (although sometimes I don’t feel like it) 

Go to snack? Chocolate drizzled popcorn 

Favorite lyric? “I faced it all and I stood tall and I did it my way” – My Way by Frank Sinatra What is your morning routine?  Wake up, check my phone, clean my face, brush my teeth, get dressed, grab some coffee and an orange juice, and get the day started! 

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? The first thing I want to do is travel to either Spain or Greece! I studied abroad in Barcelona so Spain has a special place in my heart 

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? I’m looking forward most to making connections with more DPhiE sisters! I’m excited to have access to a wide network of strong women across the country 

Kalli Fisk, First Year Consultant

Gamma Tau chapter at University of Toledo

Toledo, OH

What is your sign? Aquarius 

Go to snack? I LOVE any type of popcorn 

Favorite lyric? Kind of cheesy but one of my favorite lyrics (picking one is so hard!) is from We the Kings ‘Queen of Hearts’ “Through and the thunder and the rain, together we fall, together we fly away, hold me closely you are my one and only” 

What is your morning routine? My morning routine consists of me hitting the snooze button a million times then getting up to do school work, take a walk around the neighborhood, or just relaxing! 

When the world starts getting back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do? When life goes back to “normal” I want to visit all my family. I miss everyone so much. I would also love to travel! I think the first place I want to go is to somewhere on the west coast! 

What is one thing you are looking forward to most as a second year ILC? One thing I am looking forward to this year is to work on personal growth. I want to really put in the time and effort to make positive changes in my life!

The eight International Leadership Consultants will begin their training in July in preparation for the 2021 – 2022 academic year. Congratulations to all of the incoming ILCs on their achievement. For more information about the ILC program or its members, please contact Rachel Haley at or at IHQ by calling 215-732-5901. 


Planting to Feed

After graduating from Wesley College in 2016, Jessica Wescott, an alumna from the Beta Nu chapter, found herself looking for ways to provide for herself and others, thus Planting to Feed was born.

“I was broke after college and I needed to supplement my grocery bill so I started to grow food on my own,” said Jessica. “But then I started to think, ‘OK, I can’t be the only person who has a job but can’t afford food.’ So a small group of people from my church and I began growing food for my local community and it took off from there.”

Planting to Feed is a non-profit organization that is on a mission to provide quality food to those who are hungry or may be suffering from homelessness. The organization offers various foods including fruits, vegetables, bread products, proteins, non perishables and more.

The group initially hosted monthly free meals to the public but with COVID-19 restrictions, Jessica and her team were forced to think outside the box to find ways they could continue to help those in need. They decided to do drive-through resource fairs throughout last year offering not only food but narcan education and kits, COVID cleaning kits, mental health support, flu shots, and menstrual cycle supplies as well. In December, Planting to Feed became the first organization to offer a community fridge in the state of Delaware. The community fridge is always stocked and is available to anyone who is in need of food. As of right now there is only one community fridge, as well as two gardens, but Jessica and her team are working hard to have at least two more by mid 2021. 

For Jessica, service became a passion once joining DPhiE. She shared that she learned how to do service in a structured way through her chapter. Jessica also noted her love and appreciation for her DPhiE sisterhood, “I count on my sisterhood, I tap into them whenever I need to, and they do the same. I really feel like we have a strong support system of sisters here in Delaware, I’m really not sure where I would be without my sisters.”
Donations to contribute to Planting to Feed can be made at Jessica also encourages those who want to donate their time, talents, and resources to contact her at

A Different Path to Sisterhood

The alumnae initiate program provides the opportunity for individuals to join Delta Phi Epsilon that did not have the opportunity to join through traditional collegiate recruitment. Alumnae initiates are sisters, friends, mothers and daughters that share the same values and ideals as all DPhiE members. While their path to sisterhood may be different, alumnae initiate members participate in meaningful training and are initiated with all of the same rights and responsibilities as alumnae members. This could not be more true for Mother/Daughter trio Ann, Erica  and Melissa Neuburger who are now all DPhiE sisters thanks to the alumnae initiate program.

Ann was a founding sister of the Epsilon Iota chapter at SUNY Geneseo. Because she joined the Spring semester of her senior year, she missed out on a lot of the traditional chapter experiences such as recruitment, ceremonies and having a little sister. As her daughters, Erica and Melissa, went off to college she watched them grow into Amazing young women. She stated, “They were smart, independent minded and caring. I hoped they would find friends, learn about themselves and expand their interests as well as doing well in their studies.” The sisters were very involved in college – between the two of them participating in clubs, newspaper, radio stations, tv stations, fundraising, work, internships and volunteering. Ann hoped that they would be able to join DPhiE and though they looked into it on campus, it didn’t work out to be in their paths at the time.

While in an alumnae facebook page, Ann learned about the alumnae initiate program. After learning more information on the DPhiE website she was so excited for the possibility of her daughters joining DPhiE! Ann stated, “I was so excited because it was an opportunity for a different path for women to become alumna of DPhiE who had aligning values and characteristics. While this path does not give you the collegiate experience, it gives you the lasting aspects of all the support, connections and opportunities that a national sorority has to offer across the country and internationally. It goes beyond college.”

After writing letters of reference for both of her daughters to participate in the alumnae initiate program, they waited anxiously to hear if they were accepted. After both were accepted, Erica was initiated in June 2018 and Melissa was initiated in October 2019. Ann stated “I could not be more proud to have my daughters accepted into DPhiE and being able to share that experience with them. Now they are my sisters and, in a way, the “little” sisters I never had the chance to have in college.”

Another member that went through the alumnae initiate program was Amber Myer. Never seeing herself as a sorority women in college, she did not think greek life was a good fit for her. After graduating with her masters in College Student Affairs, she began working at the University of Tampa. Around this time, Delta Phi Epsilon rechartered the Delta Upsilon chapter at The University of Tampa. While rechartering many DPhiE sisters and staff were on campus working to recruit new members into the chapter. Amber stated that she “Met the DPhiE staff during their interviews to recolonize at UT and immediately clicked with them. I just felt they were different (in the best way) and an organization I could see myself belonging and contributing to.” 

While her experience has been unique given the global pandemic, she has already started connecting with DPhiE. Joining the Tampa Bay Alumnae Association and participating on the leadership team in the “Good and Welfare” role she had the opportunity to meet more sisters in her area. In her role she has had fun sending out birthday and holiday cards to the Tampa Bay Alumnae Association members and spreading joy from afar. She also connects with the Delta Upsilon chapter as their on campus advisor.

Amber did not know her sponsor, Jennifer Vasquez, prior to joining DPhiE. It was a match made in history – Amber shared that “She was just the best and welcomed me with open arms.” The trainings were held virtually through weekly podcast episodes as well as follow up conversations and virtual activities with her sponsor. Amber and Jennifer continue to connect as they are both on the leadership team for the Tampa Bay Alumnae Association.

For anyone considering joining DPhiE as an alumna, Amber shared that “Joining has been nothing short of a positive experience. For me, it was about opening my heart to a group of women who are eager to know me and support me. I didn’t know how much I longed for those kind of relationships until I discovered DPhiE. As you move forward in life, social circles get smaller and smaller. Joining DPhiE as an alumna is the perfect way to form a new circle and create new and meaningful relationships.”

While their paths to sisterhood may look different, they share the same passion for Delta Phi Epsilon! If you would like to learn more about the alumnae initiate program, please email

BHM Reading List

We asked our members to submit their favorite books to read during Black History Month. We are excited to bring you this list of recommendations and hope you find at least one you can’t put down.

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi*
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Mildred D. Taylor
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson*
Black Greek 101:The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black
Fraternities and Sororities, Walter M. Kimbrough
Becoming, Michelle Obama*
White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
Deacon King Kong, James McBride*
Promiseland, Barack Obama
On the Come Up, Angie Thomas
The Broken Earth Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person, Frederick Joseph