FAIRFIELD — Suisun City Councilwoman Lori Wilson delivered a powerful message Thursday to a group of high school students: “You are more than your circumstances.”
Wilson spoke to more than 70 Armijo High School students as part of a Black History Month presentation. She stressed the quote as she spoke about the obstacles she faced growing up in an abusive home, and as a single mother in high school.
She began the program by describing the day when she was 8 and her teacher told her, “Lori, you are more than your circumstances.” As a product of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, Wilson said she carried the words her teacher told her that day throughout her life.
During her senior year of high school, Wilson became pregnant with her son.
“I was a single mother and on welfare during college,” Wilson said.
Determined to receive a college degree, Wilson and her friends switched off watching Wilson’s son during the day. Wilson earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration from Sacramento State University.
“You are more than your circumstances,” she said.
As a result of her sexual abuse, Wilson said she was promiscuous during her teenage years. Her decision to engage in this activity caused her to be diagnosed with cervical cancer from the human papillomavirus.
“The decisions you make as a young person can haunt your adult life,” she said.
Growing up in Fresno, Wilson attended schools that were predominately African-American. When her family moved to Clovis,Wilson remembers the day when a teacher at her new school referred to her with a racial slur.
“I was used to it from other students, but when a teacher said it to me, I knew that I was more than my circumstances,” Wilson said.
Solomon Rivers, a senior at Armijo, said his favorite part of the talk was when Wilson told everyone to keep pushing even after failure.
“Her words re-enforced my dream to attend art school,” Rivers said after the presentation.
English 10 teacher at Armijo, Sylvia Herrera, organized the event that brought Wilson to Armijo.
“I hope the students are uplifted and motivated,” Herrera said.
Wilson ended her presentation by telling the students to keep looking forward, despite the circumstances they may face.
“If you drive your car while looking in the rear-view mirror, you will crash,” she said.
Reach John Glidden at 427-6981 or email@example.com.