Sheila Pete’s passion for social justice came at an early age. “Being the youngest of three older siblings–two brothers and a sister–I had to be prepared at all times,” Pete said. “I think maybe I have a spitfire personality.”
Sheila Pete’s passion for social justice came at an early age.
“Being the youngest of three older siblings–two brothers and a sister–I had to be prepared at all times,” Pete said. “I think maybe I have a spitfire personality.”
Pete, a senior majoring in community development, has many roles in the community and has received multiple scholarship awards. She is president of the NAACP at PSU, a Ronald E. McNair scholar, recipient of the State Treasurer Urban Pioneer scholarship and Land Use Planning liaison for City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
“As soon as I arrived at PSU, it just clicked,” Pete said. “I heard Dr. [Darrel] Milner speak and I read American Apartheid, and the civic bug bit me.”
In addition to her roles on campus and advising Saltzman on land use issues, Pete also helps curate First Thursday. She is a good team player, Saltzman said.
“If I ran for another higher office, I would ask her to join us on staff,” he said.
Pete said that before she took over as head of the NAACP at PSU student group, she found out the group was having funding difficulties.
“It started last year when I was interested in a multicultural group. I walked into Tana Atchley’s [a SALP adviser] office. She told me the NAACP chapter here at PSU was in danger of losing its funding,” Pete said. “I was amazed. I knew the NAACP was an important advocate to Americans and to PSU students– to students like me.”
Pete took over the group, began to hold meetings, rekindled events and has recently requested–with the support of many other groups on campus-that the university require students to take some diversity credits before graduating.
“Sheila is not going to be satisfied just working for herself. She wants to leave a legacy for PSU,” said Milner, PSU Black Studies professor. “We are lucky to have her.”
Both of Pete’s parents were ministers, and she was raised in a non-denominational Christian household. She said her parents advocated turning the other cheek when wronged.
“Maybe that is why I fight, to pick up where my parents left off,” Pete said. “I have always made it a point not be mistreated; now I am going to make sure others are not mistreated.”