By Lydia Zilinsky – Collegiate Staff
The Diversity Lecture Series at Grand Rapids Community College continues tonight with its second speaker of the season, Dr. Elaine Richardson, author of “PHD to PhD: How Education Saved my Life.”
In addition to her book, Richardson teaches literacy studies at Ohio State University. She also works with a group of hip-hop activist educators around the world, whose goal is to help reach social equality through social transformation and education.
Richardson’s book tells the autobiographical story about growing up in abusive relationships, becoming addicted to drugs, prostitution at a young age, and cycles of jail time that led to her decision to change the path her life was heading and go back to school.
As a result of going back to school she learned about her culture and history, and focused on her self worth and personal empowerment. Richardson’s motto is, “Ignorance, low self esteem and shame are killers. When you know who you are, nobody can control you.”
Richardson’s message that education saved her life stems from her personal experience of achieving her Ph.D. after a lifetime of both self-destruction and outside factors. Her hope is to share her story and inspire others that they can make it too.
Director of the Diversity Learning Center, Christina Arnold said, “Dr. Richardson has a remarkable story, of her perseverance through challenges and turning her life around to emphasize the value of education. Her story can really resonate with students.”
Arnold encouraged attendance with the reminder that after the lecture, there is a valuable question and answer time where students will be able to give and receive feedback to with Dr. Richardson. A book signing opportunity will also be available following the lecture where copies of Richardson’s “PHD to Ph.D.” will be sold.
The lecture will be at 7 p.m. tonight at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE, in Grand Rapids. The event is free and open to the public, and students who attend will receive a free parking pass for the event.