Tawana Williams has
been blazing unchartered territory for nearly 43
years. She is an internationally known
motivational speaker, author of two books,
gifted artist, typist, stylist, outstanding
cook, entrepreneur and loving wife and mother.
Mrs. Williams was born in 1963 in an NC
hospital. However, unlike any of the other
babies born there on that day, she entered this
world with crippled legs ... and without arms.
In Tawana's latest
book, titled, "Unarmed But Dangerous," she
explains how her mother's bouts with chronic
fainting spells and severe nausea during her
pregnancy, lead a doctor to prescribed the drug,
Thalidomide. Although the drug improved her
mother's condition, it had devestating
repercussions on her fetus. After Tawana was
born, her mother and grandmother provided and
cared for her to the best of their ability.
However, Tawana had special needs. So, her
mother sought additional help from North
Carolina's Human Services Department.
Incredibly, she was denied. Time and time,
One day, in a valiant
act of love and resolve, Tawana's mother sat
down and wrote a letter to the President of the
United States -- John F. Kennedy. Vividly, she
told her story. The Oval Office was greatly
moved by what they read and responded in kind.
She was instructed to take her baby to Cerebral
Palsy Hospital in Durham, NC. There, Tawana
lived and received intensive rehabilative
services for the first four years of her life.
As Tawana's spirit
began to develop and evolve, so did her role as
"conqueror." Today, when she addresses her
audiences, she candidly speaks about how she
overcame the darkest periods of her life. Tawana
Williams inspires, motivates, mentors, and
masterfully shows others that they can do the
things, they think they cannot. Said one,
greatly-inspired youth after one of her
"I was really amazed
at how she could do things with her feet, that I
can't even do with my hands. I learned to never
give up; and that you can do anything you put
your mind to.”
As part of the
OnTheMove! Interview Series, eMediaCampaigns!
spoke with Tawana about her mission,
"different-ability," love for God, and her
latest book, "Unarmed But Dangerous."
morning, Tawana. Thank you so very much for
meeting with us.
morning, Fran. It's a pleasure to be with you
EMC!: Would you
share with us a little more about your
TW: Yes, I was
born without arms and trained as a baby to use
my feet just as others use their hands. I have
completely overcome the adversity of being born
without arms and turned from a being a victim,
into becoming victorious!
EMC!: See, now
I want to shout (laugh). I feel your joy,
Tawana ... Tell us, "A blessing and a curse." In
your opinion, does this statement have any
TW: Yes it does,
because, once I realized what I had, it
didn't matter to me. As a child, I felt that God
had forgotten me, cursed me, and even forsaken
me. You see, I have three sisters and have
always asked God, "Why me? Why not them?" Today,
I realize they could not have taken what I have
taken, done the things that I've done, and gone
through, and come out -- victorious -- like I've
latest book, Unarmed But Dangerous: The
Tawana Williams Story of Relentless Struggle and
Ultimate Victory, is scheduled to be
released later this year. Could you explain what
you mean when you use the word, "dangerous?"
"weapons" that I possess that are dangerorus --
are my feet. I can do almost anything with them.
I am an artist, poet, vocalist, wife and mother.
I fed my own baby her bottle, braided her hair,
bathed her, and even dressed her with my two,
Les Brown, the
motivational speaker and author, wrote an
awesome "Foreword" for my book, Unarmed But
Dangerous: The Tawana Williams Story of
Relentless Struggle and Ultimate Victory. He
will also be promoting it. Please support the
book. I am donating a portion of the sales to
The Sharpe Health School for the Disabled in
Washington, D.C. I attended the school in 1968 -
1974. So, my question is ... "What's your
it's my understanding that, you have more skills
and talents than you shared earlier.
For example, despite having no arms, you
respond to, and send your own emails. And,
isn't it true that you type 35 words per minute
... with your feet?
I send -- and respond to my own emails. And, I
do type 35 - 40 words per minute -- (laugh)
with my feet! Actually, Fran, I did hide my
talents for years because I was ashamed of all
that I could do. But now, I am proud of what
God has done, and what He continues to do,
EMC!: At what
point did you know that you wanted to become a
TW: I knew that
I wanted to become a speaker when I realized
that so many of the people that I came in
contact with were ungrateful, slothful, lazy,
and always complaining about what they didn't
have. I felt I was the perfect one that
should be complaining -- but I wasn't. I was
using what I had. No excuse is acceptable.
I've heard you say: "The words, 'I can't' are
not an option." What are the words or phrase
which you would use, instead?
TW: "I can do
all things." These words are powerful to me
because I'm not a quitter; I'm a winner. We all
must use whatever we have. If I had started out
saying, "I can't" ... I probably would not have
made it. If you think you can't; you won't.
"Look what God
has done through this woman. Tawana Williams is
the most motivational person I know."
EMC!: Who are
the mentors who have made the biggest impact in
TW: Many people
have made a difference in my life, but, some
very special people have blessed me more than
they'll ever know: My mentor, Les Brown; my
friend and business partner, Dr. Stan Harris; my
Life Coach, Arthur C. Doakes; Mr. Ken Brown
(motivational speaker/author), and my awesome
husband, Mr. Keither "Toby" Williams. These men
have truly impacted my life.
Honorable, Judge Glenda Hatchett (from the TV
series, Judge Hatchett), recently asked
you for assistance during an intervention with a
youth in her courtroom. Could you describe the
experience was unbelievable! I'd never been a
mentor in that capacity, so to speak. Although,
I had helped many young people with issues. But,
that experience showed me that there was another
gift to offer the world. I'm blessed to have the
opportunity to be Judge Hatchett's interceptor.
That is a day that I will never forget.
EMC!: You are
one of the few professional speakers who speak
passionately, and regularly with our youth. What
lead you to address this particular segment of
TW: The youth
sparked something in me that pushed me. I
realized kids as being mean and cruel. Then I
learned that they picked on me because they
didn't know any better. Education is the key to
being empowered. Once I began to share with them
my life's situation, they had an understanding
about differences, peer pressure, drugs, and
many other issues. I see how young people aren't
using what God has given them.
EMC!: When did
you first begin working with children?
TW: I began to
deal with our youth from day one. My daughter's
first day of school was a challenge for the both
of us. Me -- walking her to class -- was an
experience within itself. But, when we got home
that day, I asked her, "How was your day,
today?" She replied, "Good, but the only thing I
did was answer questions about you."
That frightened me
because, I knew that kids could be very mean to
each other. The next day, I called the teacher
and asked if I could come into April's class for
"Show and Tell Day." The teacher was so excited
that I was willing to share my story with the
kids. I knew that I didn't want April to be
tormented and humiliated as I was as a child. I
think we need to train our children up in the
way that they should go. And, when they are
older, they won't depart from what they are
speaking platform includes, "What God Can Do."
Can you share with us how He helped you overcome
TW: God is my
main focus in life. He's first. He used me to
show me I could do (anything) no matter what. He
let me know long ago that, if I didn't do it, it
wouldn't get done. Also, he let me know that I
had everything I needed, I just had to use what
I had. "Many are called, but few are
chosen." I was chosen by God to be, just who I
you've been quoted as saying: "God delivered me
from Crack Cocaine in 1991 and I've been on a
mission ever since." Could you elaborate?
TW: Yes. My
addiction to Crack started because I wanted to
"fit in by any means necessary." Peer pressure
in high school was so hard for me because I was
so different. Crack Cocaine consumed me. I
neglected my family for Crack. I thought it was
my all. When I hit rock bottom -- that's when
God stepped in. He did a work and sent me on a
mission. I'm a living testimony of what God can
believe that their mission is preceded by a
vision from God. Do you share this belief?
TW: Oh, yes! I
know God has sent me on this mission because if
it was just me, I would have quit long time ago.
This is my ninth year as a motivational speaker.
God has trained me to the fullest. I am a humble
next for you in terms of your projects and
TW: Les Brown
and I will be going into the studio soon to cut
a CD series titled, No Excuse is Acceptable.
And, I will be the Special Guest speaker at
Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago,
Illinois. That date is October 10, 2005, and it
begins at 7 p.m. The Pastor is Charles Jenkins.
one of the most significant breakthroughs that
you had with a member of your audience during --
or after a presentation.
TW: I spoke at a
high school this past Friday. The young people
were excited about me coming. I did my thing and
they were blessed.
EMC:! When you
say, "They were blessed." Are you referring to
the specific demonstrations which you shared
with the students that day?
TW: Yes. I
braided "Baby April's" (a baby doll) hair; fed
her; burped her and changed her Pamper diaper. I
then demonstrated how I tie shoe laces with my
feet -- kids are so slothful about not tying
their shoe laces these days! I also spoke about
peer pressure and teasing other kids. The
children showered me with hugs and kisses at the
end. One particular girl hugged me so tight,
that I knew something was going on inside her.
A couple of days later,
I received a letter from a young lady who
attended the school. I knew it was that same
girl. She told me that, that Friday was supposed
to be her last day on earth. She had planned to
commit suicide when she got home. But, after
hearing my message and seeing me demonstrate how
I used my feet, she said: "I can live, and I can
go on." Oh, what a glorious day that was for me
and my husband -- to know that God used us once
again to save another life. God gives strength
to the weak, so don't faint ... wait.
EMC!: What a
tremendously, powerful presentation that must
have been... Tawana Williams, thank you so much
for sharing. Indeed, it was a pleasure speaking
TW: The pleasure
has been all mine. Thank you, Fran, for giving
me the opportunity to share my message of hope
and inspiration to encourage someone's heart
today. God bless you.
EMC!: You are
welcome. And, I receive my blessing.
Interviewed Tawana Williams in September, 2005.
Tawana Williams and her organization, are a
non-profit, 501(c)3, entity. She can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information, including how you can
request her as a speaker, can be obtained at her
and by calling: