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Forum: “It’s Time For Women to Run For Public Office”


Chapel Hill, NC – Panelists at the third annual Women Running for Public Office (WRFPO) program echoed the message ‘it’s time for women to run for public office.’ One panelist advised, “Even if you ran the last time and lost; run again.  I did that; that second time, I won.”

PublicHer advice was to stay engaged with the community, keep attending public meetings and stay informed on the issues. Based upon her own experience, another panelist shared that ‘it doesn’t matter where you grew up or how much money your family had. You can win. Don’t ever think that you don’t have enough experience.  You may find out, as one panelist did, that you have more experience than your opponent.

The event, held on January 20, 2018, was presented by Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, along with Kappa Omicron Chapter at UNC–Chapel Hill, Triangle Park Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch of the NAACP.  Over 100 women, including students from UNC-CH and area high school students participating in the Sorority’s Delta GEMS programs, attended the event at The Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill.  Delta GEMS (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully) is a program that provides a road map for college and career planning, as well as opportunities for self-reflection and individual growth for adolescent girls ages 14-18.

(Left to right) Joal Broun, Member, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education; Barbara Foushee, Carrboro Board of Aldermen; Pamela Baldwin, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Pittsboro; Pam Hemminger, Mayor of Chapel Hill; Beverly Scarlett, District Court Judge, District 15B, Valerie Foushee, Senator, North Carolina General Assembly and Ishna Hall, Advisor, Kappa Omicron Chapter. (submittted photo)

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; Beverly Scarlett, District Court Judge, District 15B; Pam Hemminger, Mayor of Chapel Hill; Pamela Baldwin, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Pittsboro; Barbara Foushee Carrboro Board of Aldermen; and Joal Broun, Member, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. 

Each panelist made a brief opening statement in response to three questions provided to them in advance:  (1) What inspired or motivated you to run for public office? (2)What are the most important personal attributes that would enhance success while preparing to run or running for public office? and (3) What single issue are you most concerned about in 2018?  What are your plans to make it better?

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; Ishna Hall, Kappa Omicron Chapter, Advisor; and Kandace Farrar, Co-Chair, Delta GEMS. 

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 900 chapters worldwide and has initiated over 300,000 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


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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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