The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham mourns the loss of our beloved friend and board president Effie Steele, who passed away on July 21, 2017. Effie’s love and leadership embodied the very essence of the coalition, and her fierce, peaceful presence offered a glimpse of God’s beloved community to all she met. Her service to RCND and our Durham community is immeasurable and enduring; we will never see her like again.

During this sad time, we pray the surpassing peace of God for all those who were touched by Effie’s boundless love. Messages of condolence may be sent to: Ms. Sandra Steele; 17 Balmoray Court Apt. 3; Durham, NC 27707.

Effie Steele
President, RCND

Effie “I am a warrior against injustices in our world and an advocate for those who are unable to fight for themselves.”
– Effie Steele

Effie Steele’s interest in and commitment to neighborhood advocacy began with Operation Breakthrough, the first national anti-poverty program to come into Durham in the late ‘60s. She lived 23 years in North East Central Durham where she was active in that area’s revitalization efforts and an organizer for its first PAC (Partners Against Crime) group.

The mother of three adult daughters, Effie was licensed nearly a decade ago as a therapeutic foster parent. She continues to welcome foster children into her home today.

In 2007, Effie’s 21-year-old daughter Ebony Robinson, who was 9 months pregnant, was murdered by the baby’s father.

“I joined RCND in 2010 because I wanted to do all I can to help reduce crime in our city, our state, and our nation,” says Effie. “I do it in remembrance of Ebony and Elijah, my grandson.”

After that loss, Effie worked across the state for more than three years in support of North Carolina’s “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” which makes killing a pregnant woman a double homicide.
Read more at: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2011/12/unborn_victims_act_1207
“My faith in non-violence comes from knowing that if we do something, no matter how small it seems, it will make a difference. If we do nothing, we know we cannot expect anything to be different.” Getting the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA) passed, says Effie, has encouraged her to continue to fight for “change that will save lives and increase the quality of life for all.”
She is a former on-call advocate for the Durham Orange Coalition for Battered Women and a frequent speaker about her experiences in turning the tragedy of domestic violence into triumph through passage of the UVVA.  She currently helps with the Holy Infant Community Garden, which provides free fresh fruits and vegetables for the sick and shut-ins.
“I am inspired by God’s Word, and by young people taking a stand and fighting for positive change that will affect their generation and their future. I am also so very inspired by people joining together for common causes regardless of race, religion, or creed.”
Her faith comes from her mother, her church – Mt. Zion Christian Church on Fayetteville St – and from trusting God,” says Effie. “My love for humanity drives my efforts to just get things done with as little bureaucracy as possible.”