By Alison P. Gise Johnson.
When I went to Temple University in 1994 as a doctoral student, God gave me an angel, Dr. Katie G. Cannon. As with all of her doctoral students, she navigated us through unfamiliar terrain, fought political battles on our behalf, and weekly for exactly one hour—maybe a little longer if the next student did not knock on her office door—she held our souls hostage, examining us in an effort to excavate our strengths. In this process, she exposed our every weakness, and yet she never punished or exploited us. During every moment with her, she sought to make us whole by sharing invaluable womanist words of wisdom, which I jokingly entitled “The Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture Series.” Most memorable for me are: “Never Apologize for Your Work”—the first step to dismantling white supremacy; “Life Is A Save Your Own A#@ Journey”—an antisabotage lesson given to students, primarily women who waste precious time assisting others in lieu of committing to their own work; “It’s Not Remedial If You Were Never Taught It”; and everyone’s favorite, Dr. Katie Cannon’s all-purpose lecture, “Do the Work Your Soul Must Have”—the self-corrective mantra that serves as an answer to every moment of professional indecisiveness, a response to constant critiques of colleagues, and a means of shutting down incessant complaining about institutions, places of employment, or partners that normalize sexism, racism, classism, or violence. It was and still is amazing how “The Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture Series” serves as her very present guidance to her students.
Want to read more? Click here for full (free) access to Give Johnson’s reflection at JSTOR: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jfemistudreli.35.1.14.
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