In our Generation W Profiles series, we highlight influential women.
JeffriAnne Wilder founded the Institute for the study of race and ethnic relations at the University of North Florida.
“There are a number of things that happened over the course of my lifetime that have really pushed me even further into examining racial interests,” she says. “So for me as a sociologist, it’s something that’s very interesting, it is always very timely, and I think, given what’s happened in our society since the dawn of our new millennium, is showing us that racial issues are really at the forefront of our nation’s concerns and, unfortunately, social issues.”
Wilder says her parents were born and raised in the South, and many people in her mother’s family were active during the civil rRights movement.
She says being able to see how people in her family tried to overcome barriers during a difficult time period made it easier for her to follow in those footsteps.
“What I would say to younger women, in particular, is to take things step by step and celebrate the everyday successes, to recognize that the long-term impact of change does not happen overnight, to be kind to yourself, and to recognize that failure is a part of growth,” she says. “Visualize what you want to do, and dream big. I think that’s really important for us to do, even the not-so-young women.”