PerspectivesNikesha Elise Williams Jacksonville Today Contributor
Nikesha Elise Williams is an Emmy-winning TV producer, an award-winning author, and host/producer of the Black & Published podcast. Her latest novel, Beyond Bourbon Street, was awarded Best Fiction by the Black Caucus of African-American Librarians in the 2021 Self-Published eBook Literary Awards, as well as the 2020 Outstanding Book Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Nikesha’s debut novel Four Women received the 2018 NABJ Outstanding Literary Work Award and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award for Adult Contemporary/Literary Fiction. Her bylines include The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Vox. Nikesha lives in Jacksonville with her family.
Featured image for “OPINION | Feel free to begin, again”
January 3, 2022

OPINION | Feel free to begin, again

Happy New Year! 2021 marked the first time in a long time that I did not set traditional goals for the year. I don’t like resolutions because they seem fickle on their face, but every year prior I used to get absolutely giddy about setting goals, getting a new planner to chart them out, and then watching myself progress through

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Featured image for “OPINION | In search of holiday peace”
December 20, 2021

OPINION | In search of holiday peace

As the year comes barreling toward an end, I’m keenly aware of how tired I am. I’m spending the holiday out of town with family, and for the last week I’ve been eagerly and anxiously counting down the days until I can board the plane. I’ve even given myself things to look forward to in this countdown like getting my

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December 13, 2021

OPINION | When are we going to get back to normal?

My son lied to me about wearing his mask. He lied for nearly two weeks straight. I had been sending him to school with a mask every day. He wore it getting out of the car. He wore it getting in the car. Then last week, I forgot to make sure he had his mask, so I messaged his teacher

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Featured image for “OPINION | Voting is the price of freedom”
December 6, 2021

OPINION | Voting is the price of freedom

Today is election day. Albeit it’s a small election, a special election to fill the seat of the late at-large City Councilman Tommy Hazouri, but it’s election day nonetheless. I voted early, last week, at the library. I walked in, pushing my daughter in her stroller to a room full of poll workers who had no one to serve. They

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Featured image for “OPINION | Relief and belief in justice are not the same”
November 29, 2021

OPINION | Relief and belief in justice are not the same

“Verdict watch . . . one guilty but this is stressful.” I fired off that tweet after Travis McMichael was found guilty of all charges for killing Ahmaud Arbery. I watched the judge read the verdict as my gumbo simmered on the stove for Thanksgiving dinner. A spoon in my hand, my daughter on my lap, and my clothes covered

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Featured image for “OPINION | My Thanksgiving wish for a less divided Jacksonville”
November 22, 2021

OPINION | My Thanksgiving wish for a less divided Jacksonville

Thursday, most of us will gather together around tables in homes to share Thanksgiving dinner. I have often been struck by the fact that when I gather with my immediate family in Chicago or my extended family in New Orleans, the tables where we break bread are in homes situated in majority Black, if not all Black inner city neighborhoods.

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Featured image for “OPINION | What are we teaching our children?”
November 15, 2021

OPINION | What are we teaching our children?

City Council has withdrawn the Confederate monument legislation and may never take it up again —  an act of cowardice that took place last week in an open forum where no one seemed the least bit dismayed or even ashamed. As it happened, I wondered, What are we teaching our children?  Recently, on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, my

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November 8, 2021

OPINION | Annoyance, Irritation, & Rage

I wanted to write a response to the recent stories about housing: one in this newsletter on the plan to plug Jacksonville’s “missing middle” in the housing crisis with townhomes, as well as a Times-Union piece on the decline of the Black population in historically majority-Black neighborhoods. Reading those stories triggered an annoyance in my spirit I tried to ignore.

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November 1, 2021

OPINION | Life is the goal

By next week, vaccines could be available locally for children ages 5 to 11 and the long pandemic nightmare we’ve been living might finally come to an end. I can’t wait to get my 6-year-old vaccinated. He’s looking forward to it too.  He’s been wearing a mask for nearly two years. Even when friends, neighbors, and strangers have refused to

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October 25, 2021

OPINION | Who’s policing the police?

My son is 6,
He likes to run,
I encourage him to go the distance

Jury selection is underway in the murder trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia, about an hour’s drive north of Jacksonville. The murder trial quite possibly would never have happened if the video of Arbery being stalked, cornered, and gunned down by racist vigilantes while on an afternoon run had not been leaked and released.

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