Please stay tuned for more information about upcoming Pathway to Politics Events.

MODERATOR: Thetyka Robinson


❑ Jessica Bright
Jessica Bright is a native of Walterboro, SC where she currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Colleton County Democratic Party. As an Executive Council member, she represents Colleton County in the South Carolina Democratic Party. In 2016, she sat on the rules committee for the South Carolina Democratic Party and assisted with drafting the platform issues for the current legislative year. She has also worked on the campaign to elect the second African American female State Senator, Margie Bright Matthews. Jessica managed the campaign for KJ Kearney for South Carolina House District 15. She ran to be a delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Democratic National Convention, where it was a complete honor to work towards cracking the highest glass ceiling for women. Jessica’s current focus is on educating, empowering and building strong grassroots coalitions for the State of South Carolina. She works towards those goals in her roles as a board member of SC Equality, Outreach Director for the Young Democrats of South Carolina, and as a current Clyburn Fellow. This push to assist in the facilitation, education, and empowerment has led her to run for 1st and 2nd Vice Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Jessica is also a single mother to an awesome ten-year-old boy and a graduate student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

❑ Nicole Claibourn
Nicole Claibourn recently became the first African American Woman voted to the board of the Charleston County GOP, where she was elected to serve as Third Vice Chair. Nicole is on the South Carolina GOP Minority Outreach Committee. Additionally, she is a mentor through the Be A Mentor program.

❑ Tamika Gadsden
Tamika “Mika” Gadsden is a passionate local leader with a background in public policy, activism, and content creation. Currently serving as the official State Organizer of Women’s March on Washington – South Carolina Chapter, Mika aims to help the women of South Carolina organize, find their feminist voices, and share their amazing stories of community engagement!

❑ Virginia Jamison
Ms. Jamison is a native of North Charleston, SC. She served in the US Army from 1964 to 1968 where she attended Medical Corpsman School, obtained the rank of Specialist E- 5, and gained certification as a Cardiology Specialist. From 1978 to 1995 Ms. Jamison served in the US Air Force Reserves, and before retiring in 1995, she became the first African American Female in the 315th Military Airlift Wing to earn the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. Her Military Decoration includes: Air Force Commendation Medal, Southwest Asian Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Armed forces Meritorious Medal, Air Force Reserves Longevity Ribbon, and Air Force Expeditionary Medal. Ms. Jamison was employed with the Medical University of South Carolina and is retired from the VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC where she received the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Heart and Hands Award and The Secretary of Veteran Affairs Nursing Excellence Award. Ms. Jamison has served as Vice president of Northwood Civic League. Since 2010, she has served as facilitator for Concerned Citizens of Northwood, Parkhill, and New Ryder Road raising awareness about the corridor of hazardous noise that negatively impacts the lives of nearly 300 residents. In 2015 Ms. Jamison was elected to North Charleston City Council where she pledges to address infrastructure issues, adherence to the comprehensive development plan for District 3, police sustainability through training and increased diversity, and the inclusion of all citizens of these communities. She is a proud product of Charleston County Public Schools and pursued higher education at the Community College of the Air Force, College of Charleston, and Trident Technical College. Ms. Jamison is the mother of two adult daughters and one granddaughter.

❑ Ruth Jordan
Ruth Jordan was the Chairperson of the Charleston County School Board, on which she served for four (4) years. Additionally, she served on the S.C. State School Board Association. Ruth’s motto was “A Bright Start for Every Child”, and during her tenure, she helped improve Charleston County’s education system through policies to increase graduation rates, increase early head start programs, improve teacher quality, and pass a $600 million bond referendum to build new schools. Ruth was the November 2016 Democratic Nominee for Charleston County Council, District 7. She received 48.5% of the votes, narrowly losing to the Republican candidate. Currently, Ruth is a Senior Consultant with Williams & Associates Consulting Services, LLC. She is also a licensed realtor with Carolina One Real Estate and has 24 years of real estate, credit counseling, and financial literacy training experience. Among many other things, Ruth has served as interim CEO of Fetter Health Care Network; Federal Procurement Officer for the Naval Weapons Station; and Voter Empowerment Director for the NAACP, where she registered over 50K minority voters, provided voter education and helped to increase voter participation. As a consultant, she works with various local, state and national political campaigns on issue organizing, marketing, and building community collaborations and engagements. Additionally, she works with minority owned businesses. Ruth is a graduate of Charleston Southern University. She is married to Everett Jordan and is the proud mother of three daughters. Ruth has a long history of board and advisory committee service at organizations including, but not limited to, the Ministerial Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, Claflin University, Trident Regional, Charleston Southern University, YWCA of Greater Charleston, NAACP, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.

❑ Brittany Mathis
Coming Soon.

❑ Shaundra Scott
Shaundra Young Scott is the Executive Director of the ACLU of South Carolina and the ACLU of South Carolina Foundation.  She assumed the position in February 2016. Shaundra leads the staff of the statewide affiliate, overseeing the work of public education, advocacy, and litigation to advance the civil liberties of all people in South Carolina. In her previous position, she was employed by South Carolina Legal Services as a Supervising Attorney of the Migrant Division.  In this capacity, she represented migrant and seasonal farmworkers in State and Federal Court with complex legal issues.  Proficient in oral and written Spanish, Ms. Scott received additional language training at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico and at the Fenix Language Institute in Mexico. Shaundra is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

❑ Toby Smith
Toby Smith was born in Charleston, SC, but grew up in Philadelphia, PA. She is a graduate of USC where she received a BA in Government and International Studies. Toby began her professional career at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she served domestically and abroad. After leaving the Agency she returned home and found employment at the Charleston County School District, first as the public relations officer, and later as the coordinator of the School District’s first ever bond campaign to repair dilapidated schools. That experience resulted in a move to the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. Toby was the first African-American director of the Chamber’s Public Affairs Group. In 1997, Toby began a radio ministry at Charleston’s legendary radio station, WPAL; she also managed WLMC radio station in Georgetown. A licensed and ordained associate minister with 11 years of service, Toby has also taught weekly Bible study, Sunday school, and worked with the youth and women’s ministries. With more than a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector, Toby has served locally as a credit and housing counselor for Family Services, Inc, (now Origins) as well as an Executive Director for Midland Park Community Ministries. She has written both for the Columbia-based IMARA Woman magazine, as well as the Charleston City Paper. In May 2015, Toby, who is four generations from slavery on her mother’s side, became the first African-American woman to run for Mayor of Charleston. Her platform included racial reconciliation, revitalizing West Ashley, and engaging communities in need. Her candidacy was warmly received and she expects to run for public office again. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board of Jenkins Institute and continues to research and write grants, teach Sunday school, and encourage others (especially women) to become politically involved.