NY1 news anchor brings her wisdom to Kean

By Dominique Vinas

On Tuesday, Feb 5, guest speaker, and NY1 news anchor, Ms. Cheryl Wills put on an amazing presentation in the University Center, Little Theater.

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Sophomore Brianna Sanders and NY1 anchor Cheryl Willis
Photo Credit: Dominique Vinas

Her purpose was to inform students of how important it is to know their family line and to appreciate what they did and sacrificed in order for them to be where they are today. She wrote a book entitled “Die Free” in order to share her discoveries about her great-great grandfather, who was a runaway slave who joined the fight for freedom in the Civil War. He was also a member of the United States colored troops. She explained how her father passed when she was only 13, never having any true knowledge about their family legacy, so she had the burning desire to find out what had been lost for many years.

“I liked her passion and her message. Today it’s hard to find people who actually care about what they preach. I learned that doing research is actually a weapon”, said sophomore Javon Brown.

She went on to explain how she doesn’t regret anything that’s happened to her in her life, because it only gave her more strength to pursue something greater in life, she spoke to the students here at Kean explaining to them that if her great-great grandfather could make a name for himself in a time of slavery and false freedom, that nobody with opportunities has an excuse not to push through.

Sophomore Brianna Sanders felt inspired after Willis’ visit. “Her story in general motivated me not to take what I have in today’s society for granted. If it wasn’t for my ancestors taking that first step of freedom I could have never been in school or even exist. Her story also motivated me to look into my past even more to see where I came from to know where I need to be going”, said Sanders.


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