Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” After sitting down with Latifah Williams, I caught on very quickly that she resembled something kind and powerful, very much like Martin Luther King Jr. As I sat across from her at a small table my first thought was that she was quiet, but not in way that was shy and coward, but rather in a way that was polite and endearing.
Latifah is 23 years old and finishing up her junior year at Trinity Christian College. She is studying communications with a minor in psychology and sociology. She was born and raised in the city of Chicago with her family. She reminisces on her urban-style childhood with positive memories of playing in the streets. She recalls playing the classic games of hopscotch and jump rope. And like right out of a movie, she tells of the times she played in the water of the fire hydrant near her family’s apartment. Her urban style of living gave her a sense of community that is an obvious reflection of her beautiful and bright personality.
Like most students, Latifah is a bit hesitant on her plans for her life after college. She is however very thankful for her higher education as it has been a very consequential and turning point in her life. Latifah learned the importance of her life journey while being at Trinity, “my college experience has taught to stop comparing my journey to others because everyone’s story or experience is going to look different but that doesn’t mean it’s any less. I learned the hard way, that time will pass with or without you, meaning to make the most of things and give your all, there’s no such thing as saving it or losing it if you are in the present.” Latifah believes that her degree will allow her to have transferable skills and intellect so she can be a voice for people in any way fit possible.
If theres one thing she’s passionate about its that she wants to change the world. “If I could give people a voice to somehow help their story be told in some type of way, then I’ve done a good job.” Latifah is small, but she has powerful words and a big heart that sympathizes for the oppressed. “It makes me sad when I see other people get pushed to the side or ignored- wether its in society or in a group setting because we all have something to offer.” Her boldness and strong emphasis on advocating for the silent rises from her early childhood when she explains that she grew up not having a lot of possessions and she believed that society defined her as worthless with out possessions having offer. This finds this kind of societal judgement disgusting and pushes her to speak out and advocate for those who can’t. Latifah often likes to read the poem, First They Came, by Martin Niemoller. This poem is a stoic reminder on why it is important to have a voice:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
In a nation divided by race and color, in the midst of tragedies with violence, criminal activity and police brutality, in a world where hate drives terrorism to hurt innocent people. The world need more people like Latifah Williams. The world needs people like her- people who are fearless and willing to stand up against oppression. The world needs people like her to show love and kindness.