Mary is a native Detroiter with a dedicated track record of service and leadership in our community. Following in her father’s footsteps, the Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, Mary was recently ordained as a minister, and serves as co-pastor of New Destiny Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.
In 2010, Mary ran for the Democratic nomination for the privilege of representing the 4th District in the Michigan State House of Representatives. The youngest candidate in the campaign, Mary unfortunately finished second by 70 votes, while receiving over 10,000 votes in a hotly-contested primary election. While unsuccessful, this campaign introduced her to Detroit’s business and labor communities, and served notice that she would be a rising star in Democratic leadership in Detroit for years to come.
In conjunction with her work in the ministry, Mary plays an important role with the Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) by furthering its mission of uniting the Detroit African American community by attaining its greatest possible collective strength. As a member of DABO and as a youth coordinator of the Detroit Ecumenical Ministries Alliance (DEMA), Mary has worked with other community organizations to build consensus around issues of concern to the community. In addition to her work with DABO, Mary also served as Chair of the Youth Council of the National Action Network (NAN), Detroit Chapter. NAN is the national organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton to raise awareness and bring about community action in protest of concerns such as police brutality, racial discrimination, and corporate responsibility.
Mary believes strongly in guiding and shaping the lives of Detroit’s youth, with a special emphasis on improving the lives of at-risk young girls. To further this goal and make a concerted difference in the lives of young girls, Mary established First Steps Inc. in 2009. Originally facilitated at Detroit Cares Alternative High School, for at-risk girls ages 14-19, First steps currently operates at the Andrew Young Early College Academy. Major areas of the program include intensive, hands-on mentoring and coaching services, educational supplemental instruction in English, Math and Science, and rites of passage instruction for girls entering the critical stage of pre-adolescence and young adulthood. In 2011, First Steps was recognized and profiled by Fox 2 News as an outstanding community program in a “Redefining Detroit” special.
Currently, Mary is completing a Master’s of Science in Public Administration at Central Michigan University while serving as a program specialist with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs from Wayne State University in 2008.
Mary is privileged to stand on the shoulders of civil rights giants like her grandfather, Horace Sheffield Jr., founder of the Detroit Trade Union Labor Council (TULC), an important organization integral to ensuring the inclusion of African Americans in the UAW. As he was widely recognized and respected for his contributions to working and middle class families in Detroit, our national, and around the globe world, she seeks to accomplish similar objectives, while making Detroit safer, cleaner and more competitive, for us and our future.
The youngest of two children born to Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III and Yvonne Lovett Sheffield, Mary is single, and a proud resident of the Harbortown community in downtown Detroit.