Thursday, November 8, 2012


At the end of October, Ashley Chapman, the Society’s Advocacy Manager for the state of Virginia and whose mother has MS, graduated from the Minority Political Leadership Institute (MPLI). MPLI is a collaborative initiative of The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. At MPLI, participants interested in issues that are important to minority communities develop their leadership skills.

Over the course of the intensive seven-month program, participants, like Ashley, engage with communities across Virginia to learn about the different strengths and issues facing regions across the Commonwealth. According to Ashley, “The program allowed me to look at the Commonwealth of Virginia from a new perspective. I have a greater understanding of the present political landscape after learning about the racial history of Virginia - from Native Americans and their struggle with tribal affiliation to red-lining and the design of our current cities. I also learned so much about myself and my leadership skills, qualities and capabilities.”

Ashley at her MPLI graduation ceremony

At the Society, Ashley works on State and Federal policy priorities. Her experiences at MPLI have helped expand her point of view. As she says, “In my position at the National MS Society, I read a lot of legislation and state code. After my experience with MPLI, I think that I will start to analyze policy with a greater concentration on how it will impact various communities across the Commonwealth. I wish that in addition to looking at the fiscal impact of any proposed legislation, legislators were inspired to look at the socioeconomic, racial and equity impacts that legislation could have.”

MPLI challenges participants to develop a broad awareness for the roles, challenges, potentials, and opportunities for minorities and others in the state. Are you interested in learning more about MPLI? Click here to read more about the program and see instructions for applying. Congratulations, Ashley, on this accomplishment!

No comments: