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Success Formula: Dr. Chandra Gill

03 Nov
You can learn a lot about a person by becoming familiar with their reputation. Dr. Chandra Gill’s testimonials on her website and in her book “Champions Break Chains”, is the evidence that supports the impact she has made on the lives of people across the United States in her efforts to Motivate to Educate.” Dr. Gill holds a Ph.D from the University of Illinois in Educational Policy Studies where she focused on the absence of minority and youth voice in academia as it relates to the educational settings and needs of students of color. Dr. Gill is one of the most prevalent leaders currently rallying for educational change.
 

Although I never know what to expect from my interviewees, I am always eager for the knowledge each Success Formula has to share. My interview with Dr. Gill is important for a variety of reasons, but most importantly because I know that she overcame a struggle few with freedom can freely discuss. Every year a criminal amount of African-Americans become entangled in the justice system. Years ago while working toward her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Gill became a victim of the system as well.

During a field trip with students to an intense basketball game between two local high school rivalries, Gill’s co-chaperone was put in handcuffs by a plain clothes police officer after a game changing play. The events that followed included Dr. Gill having a seizure in which officers mistook for an attack. Although captured on film, Dr. Gill was still arrested and charged for assaulting an officer of the law. Despite the trauma of becoming a “Ph.D. felon”, Dr. Gill has never ceased or staggered in her commitment to bring equality to the educational system in which our youth and families rely on to improve their quality of life.
 

A recipient of the inaugural Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship Program, Dr. Gill has relentlessly engaged in dialogue and outreach that encourages access to education for minorities. Going a step further Dr. Gill founded Blackademically Speaking Enterprises, a company that focuses on understanding cultural barriers that prevent young people from being motivated to learn. A short list of what Dr. Gill and Blackademically Speaking are doing to affect community development include weekly talks in Woodlawn at St. John Temple on Monday nights as well as regular speaking engagements and workshops throughout the United States to educators, parents, and students that focus on overcoming obstacles to academic attainment. Most recently Blackademically Speaking coordinated a celebratory field trip for some of Chicago’s excelling high school scholars. Dr. Gill’s message always encourages “going back to give back”, which is one of the reasons Blackademically Speaking was born, and will be raised in her home community, Woodlawn (Chicago).

Chicago's top high school students

Dr. Gill is committed to educating young people in a way that is unmatched by many others that make the same claim. She has been taking on responsibility that shifts the blame of what is happening to children who are victims of a failed educational system. “We must deal with challenges in our community once they have been identified”, says Dr.Gill. Her courage to act as a community agent stems from growing up in a two parent household with parents that instilled in her the importance of understanding what one could be versus who they are. For example, driving through his old neighborhood on the west side, Dr. Gill’s father would point out people that fell victim to drugs and violence despite their leadership and notoriety as youth.

Dr. Gill’s parents did not shy away from voicing their opinion about community happenings. As an investor and stakeholder of their community, each of her parents knew they had a right to voice their opinions and solutions about their neighborhood, but always focusing on developing their first community- home. When Dr. Gill and her brother would receive new clothes or shoes, her parents would say “if we see you bragging to others about what you have, we will take it from you”. Today, Dr. Gill is happy about her achievements, but never compares her blessings to others.

It is always important to understand how Success Formula’s multi-achieve. Dr. Gill plans and seeks counsel through scriptures and the Holy Bible. “I am growing up in God and learning balance by listening to the Holy Spirit. For Blackademically Speaking this means I have to learn to say ‘No….. I can’t do everything’.” And on a more practical note Dr. Gill hired an administrative assistant in order to be 100% effective. Meditation and surrounding herself with individuals that understand the vision of Blackademically Speaking are also important factors that allow Dr. Gill to maintain her mental health during this journey.

When I asked her to share with me a community asset that she feels is a hidden gem, Dr. Gill quickly replied, “children are a community asset that have been written off; they are the gems God blessed us with.”

These moments are why I do this – to be reminded of things society and time would so easily have us forget.

I doubt that my interview has done justice to the road map that Dr. Chandra Gill is creating. What I can tell you is that her passion, dedication, and resourcefulness are aspects of success that I hope to emulate in all of my commitments.

Dr. Chandra Gill’s Success Formula= Motivate to Educate + Family first + Guided by the Holy Spirit+ Culturally relevant academia

More Dr. Chandra Gill

What allows you to wear your greatness?

“I’m trying to not spend a lot of time wasting my time.” Dr. Gill’s spare time is spent with family, learning family history and embracing family as her first community. Recently Dr. Gill learned that she was not the first of her family to go to college. This was discovered after exploring more about her family tree, thus showing the importance of connecting and engaging with family.

What is your idea of community development?

“Community development must include the future! The future is the young people. Although the elders voice is important because it started with their gifts and ingenuity, we must transition leadership to youth 15-20 years old. Community development should be a fluid discussion and plan that includes educational values, economic empowerment, sustainability, and spiritual aspects.”

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

January kick off for Blackademically Speaking 2012 initiatives to include students at all grade levels being active participants in community efforts to “Motivate to Educate.

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6 responses to “Success Formula: Dr. Chandra Gill

  1. Jenn

    November 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Very well said…

     
  2. BNiks

    February 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Ash…although I just now reading your post, this was a great read! I applaud your efforts to seek interviewees of which your audience can relate to and inspire!

     
    • Ashley S.C. Walls

      February 10, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Thanks so much BNiks! I like to share the inspiration because I know everyone can use a little bit of it or a road map. and THANK YOU for reading!

       
  3. lindsay

    January 4, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Awesome read. Very impressed with subject and author. Looking fwd to more from you.

     
    • Ashley S.C. Walls

      January 4, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Thanks for reading Lindsay! There is much more for 2013!

       

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