The College of General Studies had the pleasure this week of hosting political leader and President of The Heritage Foundation, Kay Coles James, along with the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership. Even with the event being a virtual one, it was a lovely evening full of eye-opening inspiration with how we approach everyday life and politics.
Kay Coles James opened up talking about how she was brought up in a low-income community and dealt with racism her whole life, as most people of color do. But from this past, she draws daily inspiration from her mother telling her “we will not be victims; we will survive it.” Our country has many scars from our history and there are still many issues we need to work through. Mrs. James stated that we were gifted with a government and founding principles that allow us to work through our issues as a nation.
Mrs. James grew up to become a conservative politician, but not for the stereotypical reasons. She is working on solutions to solve poverty, eliminate the education gap, create easier access to healthcare, and much more. She doesn’t care about someone’s political party, but more about people who are solutionists, those who want to solve our nation’s complex problems. These problems are too deep to not work across political party lines to benefit human flourishment.
Mrs. James talked with great pride about her work as the Founder of The Gloucester Institute, an organization that trains and nurtures college-age leaders in the African American community. She is a major advocate for mentorship, and even more for those who can be a champion for someone. She loves supporting young people pursue their dreams and giving them the extra push they need. It is equally important to teach children the value of hard work and show them that they control their own destiny.
She closed on an important note on racism in our country: we need to sew our country back together, not just put a bandage over it. There need to be more honest and candid conversations, people need to make themselves more vulnerable, and we all need to be intentional about wanting to understand. She’s confident in the solutionists to get there someday though. Afterall, she hasn’t constantly seen peace and stability, but has always witnessed hope in America.
Feel free to watch the full webinar recording below and read more about Kay Coles James’ background here. Stay tuned for another program with the Tommy G. Thompson Center next April when we host former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush.