All about Shelia

Shelia Bryant is an attorney and an advocate for criminal justice reform. After growing up in rural Mississippi and in the ghettos of Los Angeles, she overcame these struggles to become one of a handful of African American women to achieve the rank of Colonel (O-6) in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

As an attorney, Ms. Bryant practiced in civil, criminal and family law in California a before becoming a civil servant for the U.S. Navy in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Her most recent civil service assignment was Inspector General for Naval Forces Europe and Africa while stationed in Naples, Italy.

Background and Education

  • Graduate of Jackson State University with a BS in Mass Communications
  • Completed Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in 1982
  • Accepted a Reserve commission in order to raise a family in 1990 and remained active in the Reserves until her retirement in 2012.
  • Attended law school while serving in the USMC Reserves and practiced law as a solo practitioner
  • Briefly worked as a Deputy Defense Attorney
  • Recently graduated from Harvard Kennedy School with a Master’s in Public Administration.

Social Justice Work

  • Selected as North County NAACP’s “Woman of the Year” in 1995 and “Military Person of the Year” in 1997
  • One of the first women to ever hold membership in the local United States Junior Chamber
  • Active member of the NAACP
  • Helped organize the largest Juneteenth Celebration in the city, with over 50,000 participants
  • Participant, Mediator, and board-member of Lifeline Community Services
  • Longstanding member of the North County African American Women’s Association
  • Member of Pilgrim United Christian Church, an oasis of liberal theology in the mostly conservative San Diego County.
  • Elected to sit on the Tri-City Hospital Board of Directors, focusing on issues such as access to quality healthcare, improving maternal health and improving the county’s pediatric unit
  • She has been a dedicated volunteer and activist in Prince George’s County and a member of a number of national and community organizations such as Women Offering Wealth, Sisters 4 Sisters, Inc; League of Women Voters; Maryland Bar Association National Council of Negro Women; #Cut50 and FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums).

Military Experience

  • Deployed to Iraq in 2007 and worked as the Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Minister of Interior to help implement anti-corruption measures
  • Mobilized during Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Served as the Inspector General for 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
  • Stationed in the so called “Green Zone” under constant mortar and rocket attack, seeing the horrors of war first-hand
  • Her experiences during the war fortified her objection to US participation in foreign wars with dubious purpose and ill-defined goals.
  • Accepted a position with the United States Navy as the Inspector General at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command at the Navy Yard in DC

A Passion for Maryland

  • Relocated with her family to Upper Marlboro, Maryland where she became an integral part of her community
  • Her son attended Largo High School.
  • Her daughter attended Prince George’s Community College before enlisting in the U.S. Navy.
  • Her husband James is a former DC and Maryland public school teacher.
  • She understands first-hand the challenges of the Maryland school system.

Her intention is to use the skills as a lawyer, a leader and public servant to advance social justice and help improve the quality of life for the citizens of Maryland and of the United States. She has experienced and overcome many of life’s challenges; poverty and oppression; poor education systems; the horrors of war; the struggle to survive as a business owner and the pressures of being a “citizen soldier”. She is authentic and approachable. Sheila represents the values and integrity necessary to represent Maryland and be a vocal supporter of the issues that affect our lives.