Sister Souljah calls for breaking the mold

Glenn Taylor

Renowned activist, author and speaker Sister Souljah spoke in front of a packed house in Alumni Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 11. She discussed the problem of apathy among college students, encouraging those in attendance to take advantage of the opportunities they receive. Souljah has written three books: The Coldest Winter Ever, Midnight: A Gangster Love Story, and her personal memoir, No Disrespect.

Souljah said that she considers all college students part of a community that now has the responsibility of deciding our country’s future. In reference to this generation of college students, she emphasizes the importance of leadership and excellence, stating, “A leader is supposed to be somebody with ideas, they’re not supposed to be like everyone else.”

“College is the perfect place to learn anything you want to learn,” she said. “Students should see this as an opportunity to do something powerful.”
Souljah explored her background, saying she was raised in the Bronx projects for four years by a divorced mother with three other siblings. She referred to herself as an “inquisitive and strange child” since she always questioned everything. She said she received her first public library card when she was five, and the first book she checked out was a scholastic reader of Harriet Tubman. She said Tubman’s experiences starting the underground railroad had a significant impact on her life.

“I began to read about how strong she was my first image of womanhood,” Souljah said. “Instead of cooperating with the system, she strived to overturn it. What is the value of me being free if others are not?”

Souljah spoke out against drug use, explaining her hatred for what it can do to a person both physically and emotionally.
“I wanted to pledge to myself to be drug free because I didn’t want to surrender my fire to anybody. My soul and my spirit is a friend to me,” she said.

The most important issue Souljah addressed related to the recent acts of hatred that have occurred at Quinnipiac over the past few months. She said it was the responsibility of Quinnipiac University to bring the students together. She also said she knows many students don’t feel connected to the events, but she doesn’t see that as an excuse.

“It’s not okay to be ignorant. If you don’t like racism, make sure that you fight racism,” she said.

Souljah, born Lisa Williamson, attended Rutgers University where she founded the African Youth Survival Camp, housing children of homeless families over a six-week sleep-away camp. She also was the executive director of Daddy’s House Social Programs Inc. from 1995 to 2007, with a goal set on creating educational programs and initiatives for inner-city youths. Souljah had also attended Cornell University’s Advance Placement Summer Program and has studied abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain. In addition to her community service accomplishments, Souljah is known for her hip-hop career, one which included membership in Public Enemy and a solo album release, “360 Degrees of Power.”