Wednesday afternoon, we welcomed Reverend Harry Louis Williams II. Reverend Williams has worked at Glide Memorial Church for the past 13 years. He spoke with Grade 7 students about his outreach ministry with people experiencing poverty on the streets of East Oakland and the Tenderloin in San Francisco.
Reverend Harry Louis Williams II, is a minister and social activist hailing from Oakland, CA. He is the author or co-author of eight books, ranging in genre from Black History to Urban Fiction. In 2015, the Oakland City Council awarded Williams a proclamation for his work in healing street-level violence in the Oakland, CA inner city, as well as his efforts to bring awareness to the epidemic of commercial sexual exploitation of children and comfort to its victims.
Reverend Williams spoke to students about the difficulties faced by children born into poverty. He asked audience members to visualize a recent excursion he took to East Oakland’s “Village Homeless Encampment.” He described a 4-year boy named Michael who lived in the encampment without parents, electricity, daily hygiene, and a regular source of food. He asked our Hamlin students how Michael would be treated when he started elementary school. Students responded with empathetic sentiments, expressing how alone and alienated Michael would likely feel.
Reverend Williams told our students, “you are fantastic, the future is yours, you are someone’s answer.” He closed by encouraging our girls to give back and volunteer to help others who are not as fortunate as they are.