Ball to honor Parker's win, help Hopeline


Mayor Betty Parker speaks at the second annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Service at Mt. Lebanon AME Zion Church in Elizabeth City, Sunday, Jan. 14.


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Monday, January 22, 2018

Supporters of Mayor Bettie Parker are planning a soiree next Saturday night in her honor — and to raise money for Albemarle Hopeline.

The “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” inaugural mayoral ball will be held Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the K.E. White Center at Elizabeth City State University, event organizer Gloria Bryant said Friday.

Bryant said she's been a friend of Parker's for 40 years and strongly supported her campaign for mayor last fall. When Parker won, Bryant said she and other supporters proposed the event to celebrate Parker becoming the city's first female mayor.

”Glass ceiling” is a metaphor commonly used to describe an invisible barrier that keeps someone from a demographic — usually either a woman or a person of color — from rising to the upper ranks of an organization. “Breaking the glass ceiling” then refers to the act of someone from that demographic rising to those ranks.   

Asked about the event, Parker said she initially was skeptical about making a big production about her win. But she said her supporters, as well as women's organizations, pushed her to support the event.

“I was outnumbered,” she joked.

When the event was proposed as a fundraiser, that sealed her support, Parker said.

Proceeds from the black-tie affair will support Albemarle Hopeline, the nonprofit organization that provides services, including a crisis line at 338-3011, for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It serves Pasquotank, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Perquimans and Gates counties.

Parker said she decided on the theme of “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” after hearing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton use the phrase during her campaign in 2016. Her hope is the night can also celebrate female empowerment, whether in politics or other venues, she said.

Parker also noted the keynote speaker for the night will be Judge Ashleigh Parker-Dunston, who was appointed last fall as a district court judge in Wake County. 

Bryant, who hopes the ball becomes an annual event, said some tickets may still be available. Organizers kept the ticket price at $30 to try to keep the event affordable. Though she said roughly 300 tickets have been sold, she couldn't estimate how large a donation the event will make to Albemarle Hopeline. The event also has some sponsors helping with expenses, she noted, including Walmart and Biggs.

For more information on the event, including to see if tickets are available, call Bryant at 337-5650.