Skip to main content

Student Leadership and Engagement to Present ‘Policymaking While Black’

By Caleb White, DASA Marketing Intern

In the age of “bottom-up citizen power” and a rapidly expanding awareness of social responsibilities, it is vital that individuals feel that they can create meaningful change in their communities. To help ensure this process, NC State Student Leadership and Engagement has created The Active Citizenry Series, a program consisting of various workshops throughout the academic year that will allow participants to learn about both basic and complex governmental systems while also giving them insight on how they can become a part of our ever-evolving political world. After attending these workshops, participants will feel energized and empowered to take civic action.

As part of NC State’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Campus Commemoration, this month’s Active Citizenry series features “Policymaking while Black,” an informative and intimate small panel and group discussion with five Black policymakers and elected officials at the local and state level. This event provides attendees with an opportunity to learn about enacting change and shaping policy. Students, faculty and staff will be able to hear about their experiences and motivations that have shaped their journey to where they are today and how they have created change in the space around them. Attendees will  hear from individuals who not only faced issues such as discrimination and disenfranchisement, but are also actively engaging in addressing those issues through policy and advocacy.

The featured panelists are: 

  • Monika Johnson-Hostler, Wake County School Board member; 
  • Sydney Batch, North Carolina state senator; 
  • Shinica Thomas, Wake County commissioner; 
  • Stormie Forte, Wake County Council member; 
  • Erica Porter, Wake County Board of Elections chair.

“Being actively involved in their community and creating positive change is so valuable [to college students],” says Wanya Ward, graduate assistant for Student Leadership and Engagement and an organizer of the event. “It creates a foundation that can persist throughout their lifetime, and has impacts on future generations that follow them. One of the greatest ways to get involved in their community is to be active locally through advocacy and community service. Local policy has some of the most immediate and impactful effects on communities, and having local Black elected officials speak on their efforts and what efforts need to be made moving forward can help students work toward creating change themselves.”

Event Details

“Policymaking while Black” takes place on Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. In order to make this event as safe and accessible as possible, it will be held virtually. For more information and to register, please visit

This post was originally published in DASA.