Darlene Willis speaks encouraging words at an all-female convocation

The Women’s Leadership Series began on October 28, with a program in Grambling State University’s School of Nursing Auditorium.The all-female seminar addressed the problems that Black women encounter in college, avoiding such problems and living above the influence.

The speaker was Dr. Darlene V. Willis, an author, poet and motivational speaker.

“Inspiring Women Towards Excellence and Leadership” was the title of her message.

Willis began her message with the Langston Hughes’ poem “Mother to Son.”

Her message was life is not a fairy tale, and opportunities are not going to be handed out.

“The fact that we are African American women means that we have to work even harder. Women have to prove that they can do any task,” she said.

“In our culture women were supposed to cook, clean and have food on the table. Our society of women needs to put the past behind us, and press on to become strong individuals,” said Willis.

She said today’s generation has too many crutches and focuses too much on their struggles.

“I did not have much growing up; however, my finances did not determine my success. So why should today’s generation make excuses?” she said.

Willis said they make excuses because they do not want to take action.

“Excuses can obstruct you from achieving accomplishments. Excuses get you nowhere,” said Willis.

Willis also talked about women breaking the cycle of bad decisions. Today more and more women are making decisions that affect their future.

She said, “Women should take a stand and not indulge in sexually explicit lyrics. We should not respond to humiliation.”

She encouraged every female to dig deep and believe in herself. She expressed how women should motivate each other and become “our sister’s keeper” because we are only as strong as our weakest link.

“The mind is a terrible thing to waste. Being educated can get someone further than beauty. GSU women should pledge to encourage one another and start believing in the word ‘self-respect,'” said Willis.

Also on program was Dr. Janet A. Guyden, Associate vice president/dean School of Graduate Studies and Research.

She said black women should acquire tools, expertise and become leaders.

The program was coordinated by Student Success instructors Lawanda Sykes, Ingrid Stallworth, Susan Wiley and Dr. Paul Bryant, vice president for Enrollment Management and Retention.

The purpose of the leadership series is to encourage Black women to become leaders and increase graduation rates. The targeted population was freshman females.

Stallworth said, “I think Dr. Willis’ seminar was empowering to our young ladies.”

The audience seemed to appreciate Willis words of wisdom.

Freshman Monyetta Ravenel of Summerville, SC, said Willis made valid points.

Many of the things that Willis stated during the seminar are things Ravenel would like to become as a woman.

“She definitely knew how to make her audience feel empowered as young women who respect themselves and gain respect from others,” Ravenel said.