Mobilize with IGNITE & The Schar School at GMU

Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 

Hosted by the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University
3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201 - Founders Hall Auditorium

The Schar School's Gender and Policy (GAP) initiative at George Mason University and IGNITE are pleased to partner in an effort to inspire more young women to run for office.

Join us for an action-oriented conversation focused on strategies for stepping up and owning your fair share of political power.

Local elected leaders and politically ambitious young women will share how to best position yourselves as public leaders. You will leave inspired, activated and ready to run!



About IGNITE's Event Partner: The Schar School of Policy and Government prepares undergraduate and graduate students for leadership roles in public service in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.  The Schar School is one of the most distinguished and largest schools of its kind.  Through research and education in policy, government, and international affairs, Schar allows Mason to more effectively serve the region, the Commonwealth, the nation and the world.



Delegate Angela M. Angel, Maryland General Assembly, Representing the 25th District 

 Angela_Angel_Headshot.pngDelegate Angela M. Angel was elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 2014 to represent the 25th District of Prince George’s County. A seasoned attorney who spent years prosecuting child abuse and neglect for the City of New York, she is a fearless advocate for the often overlooked and proposes legislation that addresses gaps in the law that leave women and children impoverished and unprotected.

Delegate Angel is committed to advocacy on behalf of women and children because she knows first-hand what it means to struggle to make hard decisions to provide for your family. In 2012, she found herself in a marriage that had become increasingly violent. While seven months pregnant with her fifth child, her husband walked away from their family. Unable to meet their needs on her salary alone, Delegate Angel lost her car and her home. She and her children lived in a shelter as she began to rebuild their lives towards a more stable future. On June 24, 2014, almost two years to the date she moved out of the shelter she won a seat representing the 25th legislative District in the Maryland General Assembly.

During the 2016 Maryland Legislative Session, she filed 19 bills that strengthened our educational system, made provisions for affordable housing, improved public health, and strengthened public safety. After hearing the outcries of her constituents and drawing upon her own personal experiences, Delegate Angel made great strides in her fight to protect victims suffering from domestic violence by proposing HB 1396: Domestic Violence - Education and Definition of Abuse. In addition to requiring schools to educate students on healthy relationships and signs of domestic abuse, this very important bill would have expanded the definition of abuse to include harassment and malicious destruction of property in order to allow more victims of domestic abuse access to protective orders. When the bill was killed in committee Delegate Angel spoke up 1 about the injustice to those suffering as a result of domestic violence. Refusing to be silenced by a system she felt was not serving victims of domestic violence, Delegate Angel made a bold move 2 to get the language out of the House Chambers. After her success, the bill was held procedurally in the Senate as Delegate Angel fought until the final bell 3 to have the protections enacted. Though the bill did not pass, her fight to safeguard domestic violence victims continues and she received commitments of support for the 2017 Legislative Session. Even more importantly, many survivors have come forward and shared their stories of triumph as a result of Delegate Angel’s Advocacy.

In addition to Delegate Angela Angel’s work on domestic violence, she is committed to improving educational opportunities and greater access to affordable housing and quality health and well-being services. She was successful at stopping a bill that would have put new restrictions on day care vouchers for Maryland's most vulnerable children. She has proposed legislation to help increase homeownership opportunities for Prince George's County residents and workers; An Education Equality Act that will require Charter Schools to provide equal opportunities to all students; and in a bold move for a young legislator, Delegate Angel is taking on banks and Mortgage Company practices that are damaging our neighborhoods. She lives in Upper Marlboro, MD with her five children. 

Kelley Dugan, Student Body Vice President in Student Government at George Mason University

dugan.pngKelley Dugan is a college senior finishing her last year of undergraduate studies at George Mason University. She is working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies with a concentration in International Studies. Her major is complemented by a minor in Legal Studies and she hopes to have a Non-Profit Studies minor by graduation. She is a native of Waterford, Connecticut.

Throughout her undergraduate career, Kelley has had extensive involvement both on and off campus. She is an active sister of an all-women's fraternity and served as their Vice President of Academic Development and was a member of various committees within the organization. Additionally, she contributed to the GMU Women's Club Basketball team as a player for four semesters and as their Director of Marketing and Communications for one year until she injured her shoulder and knee. She also held an internship the spring semester of her freshman year with OPEN International, a non-profit for education in Senegal, where she co-created an online English tutorial system in which peers from George Mason volunteer to tutor kids in Senegal in the English language.

In her final year, Kelley serves as the Vice President of the Greek leadership honor society, Order of Omega. She is also an active member of a service based organization she co-founded and served as Vice President, College Service Project. Finally, Kelley is the Student Body Vice President in Student Government. Upon graduation, Kelley intends to take a gap year to travel worldwide and volunteer with aspirations to attend law school the following year.

Atima Omara, Political Strategist

atima_omara.jpgAtima Omara is an award-winning leader in politics and the progressive movement. With over a decade of experience, she has worked in politics and progressive non-profits engaging youth, women, and people of color in the political process and related progressive causes.

Atima writes and speaks about national politics, candidates, and policy and culture issues including feminism, women in politics, women in film/media, reproductive rights & justice, domestic violence, and race & gender inequality.

An experienced political strategist, Atima is President Emeritus of the Young Democrats of America, Democratic National Commitee (DNC) member from Virginia, and Chair of the Planned Parenthood Metro Washington Action Fund Board of Directors. She has worked for a Governor and as staff on over 8 federal, state, and local Democratic campaigns in Virginia and across the country. Her multi-faceted political experience includes campaign management, field organizing, fundraising, and paid communications for coordinated campaigns and independent expenditures. Additionally, Atima has done cross-movement work with labor unions, women’s rights organizations, youth- and civil-rights organizations with a focus on political advocacy and engagement.

Atima was the first African American and fifth woman President of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) in its 83-year history. She served as President from 2013-2015, the nation’s largest youth partisan organization.  As President, Atima not only worked to engage young people in the political process in all fifty states but marked her tenure with membership growth, streamlined operations, and increased work with allied progressive organizations. Read full bio.  

Hannah Rissheq, Public Health Advocate and Social Worker 

 hannah.pngHannah Risheq is a social worker and public health advocate who recently ran for office in Virginia's State House District 67 Democratic Primary. She is the first Muslim-Jewish candidate to run for public office in the United States- and one day hopes to be the first Muslim-Jewish politician. She was one of the youngest candidates running in the VA house races and is passionate about bringing increasingly diverse voices to state government. Hannah went to American University and received a Bachelor's Public Health. She followed that with a Master's in Public Health and Epidemiology from George Mason University in 2015 and a Master's in Social Work and Social Welfare Policy from Columbia University in 2017. Hannah is a healthcare advocate and currently works as a consultant in her field. Hannah was featured in the Huffington Post and Teen Vogue





Susan Stimpson, Former Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Stafford County, Virginia  

 susan_stimpson.jpgSusan Stimpson is the former Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Stafford County, Virginia.  She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and has her Master of Public Administration from the University of West Florida.

In 2013, Susan competed for the Republican nomination for Lt Governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Susan came in 2nd place on the first ballot (there were 7 competitors) but did not win the nomination.

Susan took a risk when she challenged the Speaker of the House of Virginia in 2015 because of drastic differences in policy and the fact that he held office for nearly 30 years without any real competition.  Though she lost, she set a record in the state for the number of votes in a House of Delegates primary, second only to her competitor, the Speaker of the House, who won by spending $1.5 million.

Susan is married to Dan, a former Marine, and has two children -- Caroline, a senior at Liberty University and William, a freshman at James Madison University.

sara-trejo.jpgMODERATOR: Sayra Trejo, IGNITE Alumna

Sayra Trejo is a senior political science and communication-media studies double major at Dominican University of CA. She is passionate about the intersection of media and politics and the role of journalism in democracy. She is a Roy W. Howard reporting fellow, a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and was given the 2016 “Emerging Environmental Journalist” award by the Society of Environmental Journalists. She is currently interning in the U.S. House of Representatives in the office of CA Congressman Alan Lowenthal, as a member of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy Congressional internship program. Read Sayra's interview with Meitza





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