Author Verlisa Shanklin
Verlisa is an author who self-published her first book ‘A Black Girl Once Told Me To Never Give Up’ on June 25, 2019, which is about the challenges she had to face on a personal, academic, and emotional level while attending a predominantly white university.
By sharing her story, she hopes to encourage another young black woman to use her story to find the strength, the purpose, and the voice she thought she never had. Also, my hope is to encourage dialogue about the challenges African American students face with adjusting to college life at PWI’s so that programs could be put in place to help black students to not only adjust successfully but successfully graduate as well.
Verlisa has a background in mental health and social services, which aids in her ability to not only encourage my audience but to educate them as well.
Verlisa currently holds a master's in community counseling from Loyola University Chicago and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Verlisa facilitated her first workshop on the effects of trauma in the Black community at the Black Mental Wellness Expo on September 9th, 2019.
Lastly, no matter how much education Verlisa obtains, she is still like any other black women striving for greatness with purpose amid adversity.
PWH: What inspired you to start writing?
VS: I always had a love for writing since I was young, I used to be geeked to do journal prompts and papers in school. I used to write lyrics, poems and I did a lot of personal journaling too, so it was my dream to pursue my career as an author and speaker. Through writing, I feel like I found the voice, the strength, and purpose I thought I never had.
PWH: What is the passion behind the title "A Black Girl Once Told me to never give up"?
VS: The title, ‘A Black Girl Once Told Me To Never Give Up’ is pretty significant to me because it’s pretty much a way of living for me. Being a black girl and woman who has experienced my share of struggles in every aspect of my life, I never gave up even when I felt like giving up. So, telling another young black woman or man to keep fighting through the adversity is the least I could do because someone told me to never give up.
Also, it’s significant to me because my friend who gave me my first speaking opportunity, tagged me in a Facebook post after my speech and it read, “A Black Girl Once Told Me Never Give Up”. So, I felt that there was no other title that would be fitting for my first book detailing my challenges I had to face as I strived to obtain higher education as a black student attending a predominantly white university.
PWH: What message do you hope readers gain from this book?
VS: The message that I hope my readers gain from my story is that you can succeed in the midst of adversity and you can break generational curses meant to keep you from progressing beyond your comfort zone if you believe and never give up.
My book is now out on Amazon.com or through my website(for an autographed copy) at www.lisareneespeaks.com.
PWH: What is next for you in terms of writing ane entrepreneurship?
VS: Currently, I am working on a guide/workbook based on my book. Also, I am working on my apparel and merchandise line Straight College Flex. TM. Lastly, I plan to finish my 2nd book by the end of this year or the beginning of next year.