Photo by Nicole Mendoza
On May 30, activist and aspiring law student Angelina Sam Teewon led a crowd of peaceful protestors thousands strong through the streets of Downtown Fargo. Now she’s using her voice to uplift, inspire, and advocate for equality in Fargo-Moorhead and beyond.
In brief summary, what do you do?
I’m currently a student studying Political Science and Sociology. In the long term, I plan to go to law school and further my career. I also enjoy traveling and creating inspirational videos on my Facebook and Instagram page, Wisdom Speaks.
Tell me about your motivational social media platform, Wisdom Speaks!
Wisdom Speaks is an important part of who I am and what I stand for, which is to inspire and motivate others when they’re facing life’s deepest disparities. I started Wisdom Speaks in November 2018 because I found myself changing the lives of many of my friends, colleagues, and classmates. They confided in me with their deepest secrets and problems that they were facing in their lives. Many of them took my words very seriously. When I realized that my words were transforming lives, I decided that I wanted to reach even more people who may be going through tough times in their life.
You organized and led a peaceful protest in Fargo following the death of George Floyd. Can you describe the process of planning that protest?
The protest was a group effort with my friends Anyiwei Maciek and Morgan Duncan. Watching the video of George Floyd’s death touched all of us and it led us to want to have our voices heard. We could not sit back, especially knowing how predominantly white our community is. We wanted to bring an awareness to this injustice and seek changes from our city leaders. Our intention for the protest was to keep it short and simple to get our point across. But it ended up being more than that!
Coordinating a protest is a bit tricky because you don’t know the outcome until you are there. This is what my friends and I realized when we planned our protest in Fargo. We estimated that the attendance wouldn’t surpass 500, but to our surprise, we had 5,000 people walking the streets of Fargo fighting an awesome fight with us!
Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, how do you feel the protest went?
The protest was wonderful. I’ve never felt so proud of myself and my community. There were people of all backgrounds and ages there. I love the fact that everyone who participated knew the reason they were marching for. The protest we led was peaceful as planned, and we all had a great time.
You are part of the group ND Stand For Change, which has been meeting with city leaders to make Fargo a safer place for all members of our community. What changes do you hope to see moving forward?
I hope that our lawmakers and city leaders will see that our community is growing in diversity and that a lot of the protesters were young people. That alone says that young people are seeking changes in our community. I hope that they will continue to listen to the voices of these young people.
I hope to see my community recognizing that all life has the same value, be it white, Black, blue, purple, yellow, or pink! One step in this is through police reform. I hope to see better, safer tactics being used by our police officers to detain people.
Finally, I don’t want this awareness to die after one protest. I want people to keep having conversations and fighting for Black lives. This isn’t just a hashtag or a trend; it’s my life and it matters!
Who is your hero and why?
My biggest hero is my mother. My mother has taught me strength, independence, wisdom, and tolerance. I’ve watched my mother nurture, care for, and host strangers in her home. Though many turn their backs on her after her good deeds, she never ceases to help the next stranger. I love her heart! I want to be like her.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a leader?
A leader must first have a humanitarian heart in order to faithfully lead his or her people. A leader must also be truthful to herself. How can you be honest to another human being if you can’t even look yourself in the mirror and speak truth to your life? A leader must also accept criticism and learn from it. You must be ready to take the good, the bad, and the ugly because you WILL get that!
What is the best advice you have to offer?
There’s a special power in each and every one of us to conquer, to overcome, to move mountains, and break every unbreakable chain in our lives and the lives of others. If your heart is racing to do something, do not hesitate. Do it wholeheartedly. Do it even if the entire world stands against you!
How can our community support you and your work?
You can follow my work online on Instagram (@_wisdomspeaks) and Facebook (@talkwisdomspeaks). Also you can follow and share ND Stand for Change on Facebook (@ndstandforchange) for information about upcoming events in our community.
Wisdom Speaks is stretching its arms globally. To support my work, I encourage the community to send in their thoughts and prayers as I use my platform to bless the lives of children in orphanages and young girls who are victims of abuse in my home country of Liberia. I’m so excited about this and I cannot wait to share my experience with the world!