LOC Announces Endorsements for Memphis Elections

Press Releases

June 10, 2020

Memphis, TN  (June 10, 2020) – Today, Leaders of Color (LOC) announced its endorsements of four candidates in various levels of government running in primary elections planned for August 6, 2020.

LOC proudly endorses Kristy Sullivan (Shelby County School Board, District 4), Sheleah Harris (Shelby County School Board, District 5), Dominique Primer (Tennessee State House, District 84), and Anya Parker (Tennessee State House, District 90).

“We are excited to endorse such great candidates, all of whom are real fighters for the community in Memphis,” said Mike Bland, National Director of Leaders of Color. “Memphis deserves leaders who care about doing what’s best for the children, and not about what’s best for the political brass.”

“Now, more than ever, we need leaders who understand the complex issues we face daily, and who will use their own experience and understanding to help guide us toward a new reality, while implementing the significant changes that are necessary for the betterment of all of our futures,” Bland said. “These candidates can do that. They have worked tirelessly and put their best efforts into impactful campaigns. I look forward to the real progress these candidates will bring about in the Memphis community.”

“Lastly, upon victory, they will each be the first African American woman elected to their respective positions—and it’s about time. The glass ceiling needs to be broken.”

About the Candidates

Kristy Sullivan is running for Shelby County School Board, District 4. As a mother of two young daughters, Kristy wants nothing more than for her children—and all the community’s children—to have access to an equitable, quality education that will prepare them for life. Kristy is a proud graduate of White Station High School and Christian Brothers University and an experienced professional within the school system, giving her first-hand insight into the inequities students face. Kristy wants to serve as a voice for parents who, like her, have often felt excluded and unheard. She has spent the past 10 years working in education in Shelby County and communities across the country as a champion for teachers, an advocate for parents and families, and a proponent for change and innovation.

Sheleah Harris is running for Shelby County School Board, District 5. With more than 10 years of experience, Sheleah Harris has a professional background in secondary education, local government affairs, community engagement, and marketing. She is the founder and executive director of Living Grace, Inc., a non-profit organization that advocates for and serves homeless youths in Memphis. In addition, Sheleah also works as a manager of State and Local Government Affairs for a Fortune 500 company. In her role, she listens, learns, and leads in the charge for innovation by collaborating with community stakeholders and legislatures to drive equity and access throughout the city. Formerly, Sheleah also served as a high school teacher for Shelby County Schools and Bartlett City Schools. Sheleah is a proud graduate of Cordova High School and resident of Shelby County’s District 5. She earned her B.S. in Marketing Management from The University of Memphis, M.S. in Education from Freed-Hardeman University, and certification in K-12 Education for the state of Tennessee.

Dominique Primer is running for Tennessee State House, District 84. Dominique is an active member of the Memphis community and volunteers with various local and national non-profit organizations including STS Enterprise, Keepers of 306—Committee for the National Civil Rights Museum, and Girl Scouts Heart of the South, where she is the troop leader for Brownie Girl Scouts and Junior Girl Scouts. Dominique also serves on the board for Center for Transforming Communities, and the Memphis and Mid-South Chapter of the National Hampton Alumni Association. Dominique is the founder/owner of SWIM Academy Memphis and head coach of the Stingray Swim Team, located in the Hickory Hill community. Dominique received a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Leadership Studies from Hampton University, an M.P.A. in Non-Profit Management, from Arkansas State University and an M.A. in International Relations from Webster University.

Anya Parker is running for Tennessee State House, District 90. As a graduate of Northside High School, Anya holds children’s access to equitable education in high regard. Anya is also an advocate for her community. Anya hosted a number of drives, workshops, and other communal events to combat homelessness and bring awareness for the less fortunate. In 2018, legislation was proposed that would have dismantled 55,000 professional beauty careers and Anya felt it was her duty to galvanize beauty professionals to fight deregulation. Her efforts were successful, and she was able to prevent the termination of many hard-working individuals. Anya continues to express admiration for her community through serving Women of Brown (WOB), a non-profit organization dedicated to serving women and children in need.

About Leaders of Color

The Leaders of Color (LOC) program recruits Black and Brown leaders for public office. These leaders are respected in their communities and are provided a suite of resources to help win elections and increase their influence. Not only are community-based leaders uniquely essential to the sustainability of education reform, local leaders who support reform values are also the least likely to receive the supportive services necessary to launching and winning elections. The LOC Training Program is the launch of our long-term development to unapologetically usher in a new, bold group of Black and Latino elected officials.

LOC provides 70-plus hours of training content, delivered over a span of five months with in-person training weekends, focuses on cultivating leadership abilities, building education policy knowledge, and honing campaigning skills—all with an equity lens.