Lifestyle | April 7th, 2020

Against The Odds, Lawrencia Palmer Is Here To Serve

By: Skylar Boone
Against The Odds, Lawrencia Palmer Is Here To Serve

Lawrencia Palmer is a name you may have heard across campus for her senatorial position or on the internet for being Keke Palmer’s little sister, but here on the campus of Florida A&M University, she is so much more. 

Before making it to FAMU, however, Palmer faced a huge tragedy. At the age of 18, at the end of her senior year, she suffered complete kidney failure. Missing most of the celebratory senior year activities, like the last day of school, grad night, and almost graduation, she truthfully didn’t know if she would make it to FAMU in the fall. 

When asked of how she persevered through her struggles with her health, Palmer said she constantly reminded herself that “it’s only temporary and just because you’re physically sick doesn’t mean you have to be mentally sick as well.”

She got through it all with prayers from her family and reading Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama. All Palmer longed for was to be a regular high school student again and get back to normal life. 

Palmer shared that it was one of the worst experiences in her life to be in a vulnerable state and left in the dark when it came to her health. 

Her symptoms ranged from weight fluctuations and intense inflammation in her face because of the steroids to extreme joint and muscle pain. Her back pains soon called for a kidney biopsy. For Lawrencia, to go from never being sick in her life to being surrounded by six doctors each day was a drastic lifestyle transition. 

“Achieving recovery and making it to FAMU were two surreal moments for me because it was as though this couldn’t really be happening. I was in complete recovery and made it to FAMU, when just a short time before I didn’t know if I was going to be here at all,” she recounted. 

The slight chance that Lawrencia couldn’t make it to the Hill fueled her motivation to get involved once she finally made it to the university. On the campus of FAMU, many know her affectionately as “La La.”  

She has already made her mark by being elected as a freshman senator in the 49th Student Senate and serving on the Judicial and Rules Committee. She said she wanted the experience of government for career purposes as she is a first-year Political Science scholar on track to become a lawyer and a future politician as well. She also serves as a member and community service chair for the international pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta.

Palmer is a part of Black Is Gold, a non-profit peer mentoring organization to help black girls achieve college readiness and professionalism through sisterhood. She holds the position of Tallahassee chapter president and social media content creator for the national chapter. Most recently, she coveted the title Miss Young, Gifted and Black.

Besides her stacked resume, Palmer is known for her resilient, confident and ambitious nature. Her friends praise her for her ability to bounce back from obstacles she faces and her unwavering belief in herself.

“Lawrencia always goes out her way in making sure that she completes any given task to her fullest potential. She is confident in her leadership skills and takes control when necessary,” said her friend Amiya Bowers.

Bowers said that Lawrencia ran a senatorial campaign that truly reflected her confidence and actively entered every part of her campaign with a game plan infused with high energy.

Outside of civic and campus involvement, Palmer holds her family’s values close to her heart, as she credits them for why she is who she is. 

Palmer gave a little insight into some of the morals that shaped her. She explained how her parents instilled confidence and fearlessness in all of her siblings. They always told them that because God is always with them that everything will work out how it should be. Through the trials, they always knew to depend on one another because family is forever.

Growing up with Keke Palmer as a big sister was an interesting experience for Lawrencia. She shared that people did try to take advantage of her, but she had to learn how to decipher the real from the fake. Most of all, she adored the wisdom that her older sister Keke instilled into her. 

“We are very close, and she has taught me how to be unapologetically myself. No matter whose eyes are on you, your only obligation is to be yourself,” Lawrencia said.

Palmer’s twin brother, Lawrence, shared that growing up he fondly remembers Lawrencia always giving orders and trying to establish leadership. From early on, he said she always loved service in the community, volunteering, and helping out around school. 

“My sister’s strongest trait would be not giving up on what she feels is right,” Lawrence says of his sister’s love for activism.

When discussing her future plans, Lawrencia simply says she plans on contributing more to the Student Government Association and serving as a leader to represent the voices of the student body. She also plans on chartering Black Is Gold on campus and hopefully even start a debate team. 

Overall, she can’t wait to serve the campus of FAMU “by any means necessary.” She says this quote by Malcolm X is what drives her ambition “because everything that you aspire to do or become, you can do with this concept, and it inspires me to achieve my dreams.”