Kerry Washington Engages with Students at “Finding My Own” Event at Start of Book Tour

By Tonya Dixon / 09/26/2023

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 26, 2023) – A packed house of excited students and university friends welcomed award-winning actor, director, producer and organizer Kerry Washington to the Chancellor’s Speaker Series: “Finding My Own,” Sept. 21, in Harrison Auditorium. The event did not disappoint the excited audience.

Moderator, alumna and CBS News correspondent Danya Bacchus greeted the crowd with a rousing A-G-G-I-E, P-R-I-D-E call and response chant. Within minutes, the audience was on its feet cheering on Washington as she took the stage.

The conversation touched on multiple topics including voice, purpose, identity, strength and peace, but began with Washington’s personal, poignant definition of happiness.

“I don’t think there is a such thing as being happy,” said Washington. “It’s not a destination. I think it’s a practice. We have to engage in the activity of encouraging and inviting more and more happiness into our lives.”

In the midst of cultivating happiness, Washington noted, “you will begin to love yourself in the process.”

Every topic of the night seemed to reasonate with the audience as the conversation expanded into expression of emotion, specifically anger; boundaries for personal health; and overcoming imposter syndrome.

“We have permission to be angry. We have permission to have all of our feelings … the important thing is to take responsibility for that anger,” said Washington. “Michelle Obama used to say, ‘Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t say it mean.’

“When each of you walk into a room, especially a room that brings up imposter syndrome for you, that is a room that needs you. If you can figure out how to stay strong and be who you need to be in that room, you will be of so much service.”

At the conclusion of the evening, Washington admonished attendees not to leave early because she had a few surprises. All were overjoyed to learn the new author was gifting everyone with a copy of her soon-to-be-released memoir, “Thicker Than Water.” Additionally, to honor the famous date of Sept. 21, she encouraged the audience to join her in a TikTok sing-along to Earth Wind and Fire’s iconic song, “September.”

Watch the memorable moment here.

Media Contact Information: tddixon1@ncat.edu

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