‘Black Women Lead’ seeks to start dialogue to make Salisbury better for all

Published 12:10 am Thursday, March 30, 2023

SALISBURY — March is Women’s History Month, so the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP partnered with Mission House for a “Black Women Lead” conversation where the discussion focused on their professional and personal experiences. The goal is to honor Black women who hold local leadership roles and allow them to be an inspiration to others.

Barbara Mallett, mayor of East Spencer; Cpl. Shakya Jackson of the Salisbury Police Department; Dione Adkins, executive director of Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency Inc.; Yvonne Dixon, health equity director at Novant Health; and Da’Tarvia Parrish, associate professor of humanities at Livingstone College spoke at the event Tuesday night.

“We thought about putting this on so they can tell their stories. We thought that people should hear their stories,” Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black said. “That’s why we picked the panelists that we picked, different backgrounds, different stories to tell. Black women have been so suppressed on many occasions, just been counted out so many times. It’s important that we understand that and how we build as a community to move forward together.”

Each woman shared information about their jobs and answered questions that the public had sent in beforehand. They went over the challenges they face everyday and what they do to overcome those obstacles. They also talked about the available resources that can be used by Black women and how to obtain equity in several key aspects of life that involve health care and financial opportunities.

“I knew that when I joined this profession I knew there was going to be a lot of negativity when I did things. So for me, I have to always remind myself that I know who I am and know whose I am,” Jackson said. “When I do things, I’m not doing them for myself, I do them for others. I actually have it tattooed on my arm, ‘Not for ourselves, but for others.’ ”

Rev. Emily Rivers Stringer said she decided to attend because she’s interested in what the speakers would have to say. A self-described activist, Stringer was enthusiastic about the discussions and what she gained from it.

“I learned passion, I learned a lot about passion tonight. Everything they said, you have to have the passion for it. If you don’t have the passion for it then there’s no driving force,” Stringer said.