Why did you choose Emerge?
I chose Emerge SC because this organization exists to prepare women to be the difference makers that our society most desperately needs. Secondly, I’ve come to realize that I am the answer to someone’s problem, so I decided to get the training needed to ensure that I could serve my community as effectively as possible. Finally, I chose Emerge because I am emerging into the woman that I was meant to be…a woman with a voice to speak for and empower those who do not have a voice to speak for themselves.
What office are you running for and why?
I am currently running for Richland School District Two School Board. As an 18-year veteran educator, I have always served my community in either the teaching, community advocate, or parent liaison capacity. While observing the changes that COVID19 has invoked upon every aspect of life, including education, I believe that it is time to utilize my skills and training as a global educational consultant, culture & diversity trainer, entrepreneur, and community activist for an even higher purpose. Over recent years, I have observed some alarming changes in our school district. As a board member, I want to cement the idea that Richland School District Two is indeed a premier school district by ensuring that we partner with community and business leaders, evaluate the capacity of culture & diversity within all of our schools, and most importantly fortify the importance of equitable resources for our students and teachers across the district, all while building a culture of communication, transparency, and accountability. Education is fast-forwarding into the future, and this global pandemic has proven that schools need competent and community data-driven leadership as well as potent, progressive, and purposeful decision-makers at the helm. As an international educational researcher and bestselling educational author, I have the knowledge, skills, and training necessary to ensure that we move the students of Richland School District Two towards a rewarding future.
What is your vision for your community?
The vision I have for the Richland School District Two NE Community is one where we build alliances across the business and governmental sectors in partnership with our schools so that our students can gain the very best out of their educational experience. By bridging the gap between school and community relationships, we can provide supplemental forms of educational experiences for our students, which can assist them in exploring various career paths. Fostering community relationships is a sign of a healthy city that understands the value of working together, united in a collective mission to build a better tomorrow for our children’s children.
What/Who inspires you to run for office?
I was raised by my grandparents who were very active in the community and served on several boards and in organizations, such as the local Orangeburg County NAACP, High School Booster Club, and Norway Town Hall; just to name a few. They always shared that they were so active because they wanted me to have better opportunities than they did. Therefore, I was inspired by them to use my talents and skills to serve my community and build a better future for someone else.
Which Democratic woman inspires you and why?
There are quite a few Democratic women who have inspired me. Here is my list from the past to the present.
Shirley Chislom: She was the first Black Female to run for the US Presidential Office on a major party ticket. She was an educator and author. I am most inspired by her quote, “Unbought and Unbossed” which indicates her declaration of liberation from bondage in any form, be it professionally or politically.
Mary McLeod Bethune: She was the first Black Female Educator who founded a College, and become an Advocate for the education of African-Americans in the United States. Her college was the founding blueprint that set the educational standards for today’s HBCU’s.
Michelle Obama: She is authentic. She is REAL. She is transparent and she is a fighter. Her love for education, specifically the safe and equitable education of young women truly inspires me. I absolutely love the fact that before she was the first Black first lady, she was just Michelle; a young woman who wanted to change the world as a lawyer. Though she put her career on hold to raise the girls and support Former President Barak Obama; she exemplified the essence of a phenomenal woman in all that she did in her role as the first lady. She is the epitome of what it means to be “unlimited”.
What is one thing you gained from Emerge and would like to share with others?
CONFIDENCE! I gained the confidence to believe that I can act, and I can act NOW. I don’t have to wait until I am a certain age in order to run for office. I don’t have to know everything there is to know about politics to run for office. So far, the experience I gained has allowed me to run an effective campaign wherein I can contact voters effectively to get my message across. The beautiful part about all of this is I don’t have to do it all myself. I have family and friends as well as an awesome group of women across this state and this nation who are willing to play on my team. I am grateful for the experience through my training with Emerge. I met some of the most amazing women, who are super passionate about making this world a better place by offering themselves in service to others. If you are considering running for office, contact them now! I went in with an idea of who I was, and what I wanted to accomplish. I came out with a whole lot more. Today, I am a different woman, who knows a little bit more about herself and what she is called to do. I can say without a doubt that I have truly, emerged!
To read more about Dee visit: https://www.facebook.com/drdee4rich2/