Skip to content

Senator Harper Encouraged Women to go as High as They Can

State Senator Thelma Harper encouraged the audience to “Let our young women know to go as high as they can, there is plenty of work for us to do” in a speech delivered at the University of Tennessee Space Institute for the Women’s History Month Program on March 18. She urged, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something; prove them wrong.” She used Oprah as an example of a woman being told she couldn’t do something and she proved them wrong.
Addressing the theme of “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” the senator asked, “What are we going to do with women when we don’t give them the money they deserve?” There is a problem with women getting equal pay for the work they do.

Harper spoke about the legislature and encouraged everyone to take a day and see what is and what is not happening at the Tennessee State Legislature. She asked if we are taking care of schools or ourselves. She also mentioned concern over the fact that taxpayers may have to support private schools.

Harper urged the audience to teach their young people that there are consequences for everything they do. She stressed the need for gun control and asked parents to talk to their children about guns.

She highlighted on the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the work she has and continues to do with young people. She asked the audience to be more involved with their children.

Harper recommended community service as a way to “make a difference.”

State Senator Thelma Harper is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Tennessee Senate for the 19th district, which is composed of a large portion of Davidson County including the urban core of Nashville.

Thelma Harper—known for her stylish hats was the first African-American woman elected to the Senate and the first to be appointed chair of a senate committee. She is a member of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, a member of the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee, and a member of the Senate Ethics Committee. She is also a member of the Nashville Symphony Board.

For eight years Thelma Harper served as a member of the Nashville/Davidson County Metropolitan Council. She was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992. She currently serves as a board member for the Nashville Downtown Partnership, an organization focused on the revitalization of downtown Nashville.
She possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Accounting from Tennessee State University.

Robert Moore, executive director, gave welcoming remarks and Patricia Burks-Jelks, director of Human Resources, Equity and Diversity, introduced the speaker. The program also included a reading by Betty Bright, administrative support assistant, and a solo by Ashley Brooks, a local singer songwriter and senior at Franklin County High School in Winchester.