Leaders offer advice

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Violet Hawkins, Eddie Mose and Pastor Richard Williams reflected on their experiences for a younger generation Nov. 17 as the first panel at Cass District Library for “Developing Leaders in Cassopolis by Building Stronger Families.”

Violet Hawkins led off the first panel discussion Nov. 17 for “Developing Leaders in Cassopolis by Building Stronger Families” at Cass District Library.
Violet lived in Cassopolis from ages 11 to 18. Before that, she attended Catholic school in Chicago. She has four brothers and sisters.
She attended Western Michigan University for two years, then went to Washington, D.C., where her father’s relatives lived, to attend Howard University.
“Knowing a lot of black people who were doing well and valued education was a life-changing event for me,” the political science major said. “I knew one lawyer from Cassopolis, Roosevelt Thomas, so I went to law school, which cost $3,000 in the 1980s.”
A summer job with IBM turned into four years. She worked in New York and in New Jersey for IBM and a prosecutor’s office before moving back home and finding her “dream job” with Ivy Tech.
“Besides people who showed me the power of knowledge, I visited Africa and didn’t come back for a year. I wish I had studied more in high school and been more thoughtful about the future. I was very distracted by all the things girls are still distracted by — boys, parties and clothes.
“If you want to be a leader, you have to start thinking about that around eighth grade,” Hawkins said. “Every move you make as a young person can follow you through life.”