On March 25, 2011, Cheryl Wills made history as the first journalist invited to speak before the United Nations General Assembly for the International Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Her emotional speech about her enslaved great-great-great grandfather’s fight for freedom in the Civil War was broadcast live on United Nations Television and she was immediately invited back to address the African Union at the United Nations in May 2011. And she was subsequently invited to speak before the World Summit of Mayors in Senegal, West Africa.
On April 6, 2011, The National Archives Headquarters in Washington D.C. invited Cheryl Wills to speak alongside Emmy-award winning filmmaker Ken Burns for a special Civil War Presentation that was picked up by the National Press Corp.
As a television journalist, Cheryl Wills has been a reliable guide through everything from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to moderating televised discussions about the presidency of Barack Obama. She has received numerous awards for her work including New York Press Club and AP Awards, the YMCA National Black Achievers in Industry Award, and the Carl T. Rowan Leadership in Media Award as part of the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards. In 2010, McDonald’s honored Wills as a broadcasting legend during a regional ad campaign. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from New York College of Health Professions in May of 2005.
As a highly sought after host and public speaker, Cheryl has been selected to host events for The Essence Music Festival, The Congressional Black Caucus, McDonald’s Gospel Fest, Talkbacks at Broadway shows like The Whipping Man and Breakfast with Mugabe, and she has co-hosted events with A-list celebrities like Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, and many others. She has also interviewed a wide-range of celebrities including Maya Angelou, Roberta Flack, Rudy Giuliani, and Randall Robinson.
Her acting work includes playing herself on the NBC hit series Law & Order: SVU, The new CBS series The Golden Boy, The Strain (FX), and major motion pictures such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Freedomland, starring Samuel Jackson, and The Brave One, with Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard.
Wills is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and is an active member of The Women’s Forum, The Inner Circle of City Hall Journalists, The New York Association of Black Journalists, The New York Press Club, The Links, Inc., and The Screen Actors Guild.
Speaking Topics Include:
• Finding the Hidden Treasures in your Family History
• From Emancipation to Civil Rights: Honoring the Journey of African-Americans in the USA
• Descendants of Soldiers of the United States Colored Troops: We Honor Their Service
• From Slavery to Freedom: The Great Grandchildren of Slaves Speak their Names
• Tracing Your Roots in the Digital Age
• The Untold Stories of Slaves who Fought for their Freedom Against All Odds
• Using your Powerful Ancestry to Re-Brand your Life and Career
• Journalism: Finding the Story in the Digital Age
• Journalism: A New Landscape with New Challenges
• To the Left or the Right: How Politics is Changing the Nature of Journalism
Previous Speaking Engagements Include:
• The United Nations
• The National Archives in Washington, DC
• The United States Army
• Association of Black Educators Conference
• Harlem Book Fair
• Essence Music Festival
• The Congressional Black Caucus
• York College, LaGuardia Community College, Brooklyn College, St Francis College, Hofstra
University, Medger Evers College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Hostos Community
College, Kean University, Farmingdale State College, Five Towns College, and numerous high
schools and elementary schools
• New York Life Insurance Company
• New York City Housing Authority
• New York State Supreme Court
• National Black Writer's Conference
• Ernst & Young
• Apollo Theater
• Many others