March events focus on the family, women cops

March is Woman’s History Month, and two local women are spearheading two public events this month – one focuses on the family, and the other gives an overview of the unique challenges of being a policewoman, specifically a black policewoman.

I have written in past columns about Teen Straight Talk, the Vienna-based organization that for nearly 30 years has been educating children, teens and adults regarding the importance of abstinence as a lifestyle choice.

TST emphasizes the consequences of participating in sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage and the numerous benefits from abstaining from sexual activities until entering the bond of marriage.

Mary Duke and her late husband, Roland, founded TST in 1989. I’ve known Mary, the mother of three sons and a daughter, for more than 20 years, and she has a passion for young people, especially in helping them make wise life choices guided by biblical principles. She is the organization’s executive director.

TST’s fifth annual Strengthening the Family Conference is March 31 and April 1.

This year the returning keynote speaker is Dr. Margaret “Meg” Meeker. Dr. Meeker speaks on key issues confronting American families. She has also spoken nationally on parenting issues, with personal appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” “Today with Kathie-Lee and Hoda,” “Dateline” with Katie Couric, Oprah Radio and more.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and serves on the advisory board of The Medical Institute.

The conference theme this year is “Fighting for Your Family’s Future.”

Mary and Dr. Tonia Farmer-Pitts, TST board president, both see the spiritual and natural side effects from a lack of godly principles in the lives of the community they serve in. They are calling for all families to attend along with community leaders.

The March 31 banquet and April 1 morning breakfast will take place at the Avalon Inn and Resort in Howland. Banquet adult tickets are $30, and student tickets are $20. The breakfast tickets are $15 for everyone. On April 1, there will be separate sessions for the entire family – children 6 to 11; children 12-17; and adults 18 and older.

To purchase tickets or for information, call the Teen Straight Talk office at 330-539-6040.

A week before that event, there will be a three-hour presentation at the Community Room at the Covelli Centre downtown called “The History of Women Police: Responsibilities and Contributions.”

Spearheading the March 24 program is Delphine Baldwin-Casey, retired detective sergeant in the Youngstown Police Department.

Baldwin-Casey helped found the YPD’s Family Investigation Services Unit, and she now is victim-assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Youngstown. She is the first point of contact for people who claim to have been sexually abused by clergy, religious, church personnel or volunteers.

The guest speaker is scheduled to be Sgt. Lindsey Alli of the Columbus Police Department and president of the Ohio Women’s Law Enforcement Network or OWLEN. Alli is Baldwin-Casey’s daughter-in-law, and Delphine said she never dreamed Alli would follow in her footsteps.

According to its website,, the organization and its staff are “committed to establishing, providing and sustaining a network of law enforcement professionals through which it can build individual integrity and leadership and improve law enforcement professions and practices.”

Alli, who has served nine years with the CPD, obtained her bachelor’s degree in criminology from Ohio State University in 2004 and her master’s degree in business administration from Franklin University in 2007.

The event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served.

To register or for information, call Baldwin-Casey at 330-559-1927 or 330-953-2652.

Women have been involved in law enforcement since the late 19th century; however, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that they finally got the opportunity to compete for promotions and to work in patrol and investigative services along with men.

Hopefully, you will be able to attend one or both of these worthwhile events.

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly minority-affairs column. Contact him at