There’s a saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. This statement perfectly fits Kristen James, a sophomore from Orlando, Fla. The first year collegiate cheerleader hardly fits the common stereotype, which is that of a less than bright girl. In actuality, she is a socially aware and conscious young woman. Although she enjoys many of the past-times of her peers like, shopping, music, and dancing, there is more to her than meets the eye.
James found her passion in Journalism during her senior year at Bishop Moore Catholic High School. She chose Hampton University as her choice for a collegiate experience and education because of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. She chooses to be non-judgmental in her actions and thoughts towards others. “We don’t have that right.” said James, “Whatever an individual chooses to do, that’s their choice. I can be one less person judging them.”
However, James does have a conscious side. One experience that led to her developing this was her second trip to Jamaica. The first trip was of the vacation type; the second however was a church mission trip. It was here that her faith in God developed, and her heart for the less fortunate increased. As with any tourist trip, the first experience showed her the glamorized aspects of Jamaica. The second trip however showed her the poverty that also existed in the perceived paradise. This trip was the one that impacted her more. This experience included helping to build a house for James.
Friend Chimere Washington, a sophomore business management major from Philadelphia, has known James for about two years when they met through a mutual friend. “I realized that she was non judgmental when she told me she went to a school with diverse races and that she was comfortable around the different races.”
In regards to Americans, James was candid, “I think we’re very selfish. We take from everyone else and when the people that we take from come here out of admiration, we discriminate, and it’s not right.” James believes that individual change is the solution. She believes that if we didn’t teach racism but instead taught equality, things would be better.
Friend Korrea Johnson, a Harrisburg, Pa. native who resides in Raliegh, NC, says that James is expressive in her views of the Hampton University social scene. “As far as social equality, she (James) doesn’t like the ranks and categories that Hampton (University) has, like if you can “dress” or if everyone knows you, or if your from Maryland. The cliquish type of stuff.”
James’ social conscious is formed from her influences. Among them is Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, and Mohandas Gandhi. She admires the outstanding impact they each had on the world at large. She admires Gandhi’s non-violent approach, Rosa Parks’ stance for equality, and Mother Theresa’s charitable works.
Another influence on James’ life is that of the Black Panther Party. She admires their strength and their love of self. “People have their own way of making a statement, and all of these people made an impact on the world.” With the mind and heart she possesses, Kristen James is bound to impact the world.