UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

“Bridge builder” and pioneer Lenora Fulani inspired audience

A photo of Fulani sitting on stage If you want new things to happen, you have to create new possibilities.

That was one of the key messages of political pioneer and developmental psychologist Lenora Fulani.

Fulani spoke Wednesday in the EUC Auditorium, in a talk sponsored by the Lloyd International Honors College.

“Growing up Poor and Black in America: The Impact of the 60s from the Vantage Point of an Intellectual and Community Organizer” was the title of her talk. A photo of Fulani speaking at a podium

Afterward, she and Dr. Omar Ali, dean of the honors college, shared a conversation onstage with Ali asking questions. A Q&A with the audience followed.

Six UNCG students welcomed the audience and introduced Ali.

Ali explained the impact Fulani has had on his life. He became acquainted with her on a research trip to New York City when he was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. She was running for governor of New York and he saw her speak at a rally. She was working to empower ordinary people through the electoral arena.

“Lenora Fulani became my mentor,” explained.

He added, “She is the quintessential bridge builder.”  Photo of many people in theater seats

In 1988, Fulani became the first woman and the first African American to be a presidential candidate in all fifty states. Ali showed an interview of her on the McNeil/Lehrer Newshour from that year. She was an Independent and told McNeil about her political position and why American of varying constituencies should vote for her. What shone through was her passion for all people, particularly those in poor neighborhoods and those whose political voices were not being heard.

“I have a lot of faith in ordinary people,” she said.

By Mike Harris
Photography by Jiyoung Park