Antonia Okafor is one of America’s foremost advocates of concealed carry on campus. In 2015, Antonia made a permanent mark in the second amendment community, when she became the Southwest Regional Director for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus(SCCC), where she advocated for the passing and successful implementation of the concealed carry on campus in Texas law known as, “campus carry.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) took notice of her activism and had her star in one of their “Freedom’s Safest Place” commercials, a national campaign that highlights the diversity of NRA members. A current graduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, Antonia shows no signs of slowing down.
Leader Spotlight: Antonia Okafor
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became involved in NeW?
I am a current Public Affairs graduate student at The University of Texas at Dallas. I earned my bachelors degree at UT Dallas as well in 2013. I worked as a field representative for Greg Abbott for Texas Governor Campaign in 2014 and was a Running Start/Walmart Star Fellow in Senator Kelly Ayotte’s DC office last year. In January of this year, I was sworn in as Precinct Chair of my local neighborhood precinct. I hope to run for office in the future.
I became involved with NeW after meeting President Karin Agness last year while interning in DC. She was speaking at a Leadership Institute Women in Leadership training and spoke about founding NeW. A couple of months ago, I decided to start a chapter at my university and currently serve as the President of that chapter.
What made you want to start a NeW chapter?
Although my school has a couple of groups for women, all of them are focused on the radical feminist movement. There was no safe space for women with conservative values and beliefs, other than at college bible study. But even then, politics is not usually shared in those spaces. I wanted there to be a variety of voices when it came to women in politics and leadership.
What advice do you have for other women on campus who may want to start a NeW chapter?
Be prepared for vocal opposition from your peers and your school. Conservative issues are usually not popular on college campuses. But cling to your conservative community, men and women alike, and stand strong and unified together. Remember, unlike the feminist movement that brings men down, conservative women believe that men are just as pivotal in uplifting women.
Congratulations on your nomination for Next Political Rising Star Award at Running Start’s Young Women to Watch Awards. Can you describe what this award entails and how you became nominated?
The Next Political Rising Star Award is a part of Running Start’s Annual Young Women to Watch Awards. The title comes with a $5000 grant that will go towards a nonpartisan project of my choosing. If I am awarded the prize, I will put it as seed money for a nonprofit organization that I will start. The nonprofit will equip passionate, driven high school girls who aspire to go to top universities, graduate with little to no debt and pursue public office. This will be done through mentorship, college prep resources and financial literacy education. In order to get to the finalist position, I was selected from many other applications to be one of 10 semifinalists in February to compete for the finalist round. We all collected signatures, online votes and campaigned for support. Those with the highest numbers earned their way to the last round. On April 21st, Tuesday evening, an audience of over 250 will vote for the winner. The other two finalists will receive $500 and the Alumna in Action Award.
What advice do you have for other women who may want to get involved in the political nonprofit sphere?
My advice is to follow the goals of NeW: Network, Enlighten and Women. Network by taking as many opportunities as possible to learn about your community, its’ needs and how you as an individual can provide solutions. That all begins by talking to people and building relationships. Enlighten-take the knowledge you have gained through your personal education, work and life experience and share that knowledge with others. Women-women are not single issue voters, we don’t believe empowerment is reserved for the Democrat party and we certainly do not all believe in the War on Women. Be an ambassador for the diversity of thought among all female organizations. Convey to the world the power of a conservative woman. And in whatever you do, do it with purpose and passion.