Voices that Matter: Inspirational food for thought

DIANE XAVIER | 5/11/2015, 10:51 a.m.
With the school year coming to a close, Paul Quinn College concluded their speaker series, Voices that Matter, on April ...
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“Even though those were the most painful years of my life, I learned that life is just not always fair and there are difficult people no matter where you go. It is not what they do that matters but how you work beyond that. You have to understand what it is going to take for you to get to where you want to go. The lesson for you is that the journey is not going to be easy but it’s what happens in the end and the pain process that makes you successful. So where I am now is not where I started. I attribute my success to poverty. It’s places like Paul Quinn College who have role models that look like you and that grew up like you and have been to the other side and can reach back and help you to come across. And that is why we are here.”

Afterwards, Jackson spoke about how she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives through her organization Minnie’s Food Pantry, which serves the poor.

“The best way to get something out of life is to be it,” Jackson said. “I was 17 years old when I got married and didn’t go to college, despite getting 100’s on my report card in high school. However, I am glad to say that 29 years later, I am still married. It wasn’t easy. You all here have done more than I have just coming to the college because I didn’t go to college. I have learned that you have to work hard, you have got to work smart and find out who are the people in the world who can help you get to the next level.”

She also talked about her struggles and how at one time she and her husband had to work five jobs just to survive.

“It was hard working and having kids because at one point I was working at two in the morning delivering newspapers to people,” she said. “And one day I was watching television and Oprah said to write down everything you want in life and that is what I did. I wrote my goals out and made them happen. And that is what I want to tell you today is to write down all your goals because I clearly believe whatever you write down and whatever you visualize and whatever you see yourself being, you can be that.”

Jackson said her life changed when her father passed away and she wanted to do something to give back to people and that is when she started a food pantry.

“I started the food pantry because I wanted to teach people how we should treat people that are in need,” Jackson said. “I have traveled all around the world and walked the red carpet and decided that I would put a red carpet in my food pantry to make people feel special. I wanted to make a difference and learned that when you give back you get so much more. We started with 50 to a 100 people and know we have fed over 200,000 people.”

She concluded with a note of inspiration.

“I want to end this talk by asking you to be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself. When people laugh at you or don’t support you, just keep going and things will happen.”