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Elected Officials Encourage Women to Run for Public Office

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Chapel Hill, NC – On January 28, 2017, panelists at the second annual Women Running for Public Office (WRFPO) program sent a clear message to the audience – don’t listen to those who tell you “you’re too young” or “you need to wait your turn.”  One panelist said, “We run our houses; we run our schools. We can run our government.”  Another wondered why she was being asked to wait when she decided to run for a higher elected office.  Was it her age, her gender, her race or some combination of those factors?  Despite all, they each decided to run for public office.

The event was presented by Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, along with Kappa Omicron Chapter at UNC–Chapel Hill and Triangle Park Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Event sponsors were Eta Phi Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch of the NAACP.

Over 100 women, including students from UNC-CH and area high school students, attended the event at Chapel of the Cross Church in Chapel Hill. Elected Women event

The purpose of the WRFPO, non-partisan, program was to inspire, inform and encourage women to be engaged in public policy-making in our communities, our state and our nation.  For those women who already have a desire or have made the decision to seek a public office, the program helps equip them with essential knowledge and requirements to move forward, successfully. Lastly, the program provided an opportunity to meet community and state leaders face-to-face, hear their stories, and observe that these women are not dissimilar from themselves.

Panelist included Valerie Foushee, Senator, North Carolina General Assembly; Elaine M. O’Neal, Superior Court Judge, District 14; Samantha Cabe, District Court Judge, District 15B; Renee Price, Commissioner – Orange County Board of County Commissioners; Brenda Stephens, Member – Orange County Board of Education; Rani Dasi, Vice-Chair and Joal Broun, Member, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.

Cabe, Dasi and Broun are serving first terms in their respective current offices.  Each panelist made a brief opening statement on why she ran for public office, the responsibilities of the office and her first-time experience in running for public office.  The program concluded with advice from one panelist who said, “If you are not interested in running for office, then find and support a woman who is.”

The President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is Lorraine Coleman.  Program moderators were Sybil S. Henderson, Social Action Committee Chair; Mary Phillips, Social Action Committee, Co-Chair and Dianne Jackson, Social Action Committee Member.

About Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded in 1913 on the campus of Howard University to promote academic excellence and scholarship; to provide support to the underserved; to educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy; and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in communities.  Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has more than 1,000 chapters worldwide and has initiated over 200,000 members.  The sorority uses its Five-Point Programmatic Thrust of economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement to develop its national programs.  For more information, please visit

PICTURED ABOVE (Left to right): Dr. Alisha Smith Freshwater, VP- CHCAA, Dr. Sybil Henderson, Co-Chair Social Action Committee, N.C. Senator Valerie Foushee, District Court Judge Samantha Cabe, Lorraine Coleman, President CHCAA, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board Members Rani Dasi and Joal Broun, Superior Court Judge Elaine M. O’Neal, and Dr. Mary Phillips, Co-Chair Social Action Committee.


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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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