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.
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 www.chcaa-dst.org.
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.