Baldwinite Dr. Zodelia Williams hosted a book signing on Nov. 19 for the anthology “Sistah Hooded: Stories of Strength and Resilience on the Doctoral Journey” at the new selfie event space Hello Gorgeous New York in Baldwin.
The book, co-authored by Julie Clockston, Diona Shelton, Keara Ndhlovu, Andrea Grannum-Mosley, Karnesha Smith, Kia McCray and Cheryl Fergerson, tells readers that despite being marginalized or having a disability or any other life challenges, you can still earn a doctorate.
According to a 2020 National Science Foundation report, only 2 percent of Americans earned a doctorate, with 6.5 percent of them being Black, up from 10 years ago by 61 percent. “We wanted to impart some knowledge and give some information on how you can get to this hood…the famous hood, the doctorate,” Williams said.
“When you get your doctorate, …it’s not an easy process unless you have support or community,” she said. Williams, owner of 3 D’s Aftercare Inc., said she had tremendous community support, but not from her school, where she studied social work.
“Eight of us who graduated from Capella University decided to empower and affirm our colleagues and scholars who are coming behind us,” Williams said on making the book the blueprint and road map to others who want to pursue higher education.
The book is not only for those trying to earn a doctorate, as Williams said it’s for “anyone who is trying to excel educationally,” as “there are eight stories that can empower and affirm anyone who is going through the process of school.”
The book centers on the idea that representation is important, and Williams wants to “give young girls who look like [her] a chance to understand and know that…there are less than 2 percent of Americans who have a PhD or doctorate degree.”
“So many people are pouring into me, and I want to make sure that I pour into them, so they can pour into the next generation,” Williams said, noting, “We, as a community, need to create safe spaces so that our youth and families are able to gather.”
A 15-year-old volunteer at 3 D’s Aftercare Inc., Kayla Martin, said Williams is important to her because “even on her worst days, she always makes sure the kids at 3 D’s get what they need…She really does try to help everyone.”
Saying Harriet Tubman, the famed Underground Railroad conductor, is her hero, Williams said, “When you make it, or when you get into where you think that you need to make it, you need to come back and get the people that you left behind.”
3 D’s Aftercare Inc. will give out takeout Thanksgiving dinners to those in need. More information can be found on www.3dsaftercareinc.org. “Sistah Hooded: Stories of Strength and Resilience on the Doctoral Journey” is available on Amazon and Williams’s website.
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