Founder: Dr. Gloria Willingham-Touré: A True Trailblazer
Meet the incomparable Dr. Gloria Willingham-Touré, a living embodiment of resilience, community empowerment, and a beacon of light in the sphere of social capital and community support networks. Her life story is one of deep connection with the community, embodying the spirit of co-learning, and working tirelessly to bridge the gaps in health, education, and socio-economic realities.
Emerging as one of the early graduates of the newly desegregated Little Rock Central High School in the 1960s, Dr. Willingham-Touré has always been at the forefront in the fight for social justice. With the nurturing embrace of her community, she navigated the intricacies of life as a single parent, balancing full-time work with education. Her personal voyage grants her an intimate understanding of the disparities and challenges many face, fueling her encouragement for all to “tell our story” as a tool for empowerment and community strengthening.
Dr. Willingham-Touré's illustrious career spans over two decades in the nursing field, taking on roles from a nurse's aide to eventually retiring as the Chief of Nursing Education and Research at the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Long Beach, California. Her leadership and dedication also shine through her service as a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves/Army Nurse Corps.
Marking a significant footprint in the academic world, Dr. Willingham-Touré not only served in adjunct faculty roles but also ventured into a second career in collegiate education. Her tenure at California State University, Long Beach, witnessed her proactive steps in encouraging more RNs to embrace teaching, fostering a new generation of role models. She is credited with orchestrating the inception of the Psi Eta chapter of Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority Inc, a professional nursing organization in Long Beach, a monumental stride in bringing together African-American nurses and re-integrating their talents into the community.
With a resolute commitment to gender empowerment globally, her role as the Interim Provost/Senior Vice-President at Fielding Graduate University was pivotal in advancing opportunities and access for underprivileged individuals, particularly focusing on African-Americans and African Diaspora immigrants. Dr. Willingham-Touré's global perspective is enriched by extensive travels and studies of community and education systems worldwide, nurturing a vision of connecting diverse African-American and African Diaspora Immigrants to foster opportunities and diminish disparities.
Dr. Willingham-Touré, a Fulbright Scholar alumnus(Fulbright Specialist in Public/Global Health- University of Malta Health Institutes) with an impressive educational background, continues to serve diligently in various high-ranking positions, including as a past member of the Board of Governors at California State University, Long Beach, immediate past Chair of the Board of Trustees at Goddard College, and current Vice-chair Community Board, Dignity Health/ Common Spirit St. Mary’s Medical Center, Long Beach. She is also a mentor/coach in the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University.
Her visionary and now internationally acclaimed “Annual Villager Awards” epitomizes her philosophy of “Lifting as we climb”, fostering environments where individuals from different backgrounds can come together to co-learn and bridge opportunity gaps, all while retaining their cultural richness to benefit society at large.
Dr. Gloria Willingham-Touré is a true trailblazer in every sense, as many are served by her immense contributions, unyielding spirit, and the rich legacy of empowerment and community upliftment she continues to build every day. Her life is a testament to the transformative power of community, resilience, and shared knowledge.
For further information or to become a part of this enriching journey, please reach out to villagerawards@gmail.Com
Afram Global Organization Inc is a US IRS approved 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Charitable Organization.
Donations Accepted at: https://www.nfggive.org/guidestar/20-0578346
SAVE THIS DATE: May 25, 2024 marks the “Ten Year Anniversary of The Annual Villager Awards” Join Us in Gala Celebration! Stay tuned for more information!
Memories of the 2023 Villager Awards: