Fayola L. Williams ’04

Alumni, Feature, 10 Under 10

Fayola L. Williams


August 7, 2014

Fayola L. Williams ’04


Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10.

Assistant District Attorney, Kings County District Attorney’s Office

“… I loved Adelphi. My experience was wonderful. I had great professors, made great friends…it was just a warm, friendly environment.”

Fayola L. Williams ’04 has always had a passion for advocacy.

Born in Guyana, South America, Williams came to the United States in 1987, and has been living in Brooklyn ever since. “My parents worked hard for my sisters and I to come to the United States, have better lives, and receive better educations.”

Years before she attended Adelphi, as a student at Edward R. Murrow High School, she recalled having the desire to help people. “I wanted to protect people and speak on behalf of those who weren’t able to speak for themselves,” she said. Her desire to speak up for the marginalized and unheard led Williams to pursue her law degree at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, in Lansing, Michigan, where she earned her Juris Doctor in 2009.  “Earning my law degree was one of the proudest moments in my life because I knew that it would allow me to be an agent for change in the world,” she said.

As an assistant district attorney for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, she enjoys being able to work on behalf of and with those in society. “As a prosecutor at the DA’s office, I have the opportunity to work for my community,” she said.

She recognizes that people often think of prosecutors, like her, solely as the ones who put “the bad guys” in jail. But a big part of her job is also meeting with those who are victimized. “You don’t just see the person who did the wrong, you get to see people you’re helping,” she said. “These people are the ones whose lives have been changed because of someone else’s criminal actions. I get to sit with them, assure them it’s going to be okay, and point them in the right direction.”

Directly helping people is the most rewarding part of her job. “It’s why I wanted to become an attorney in the first place,” she said.

Working for the District Attorney’s Office has also allowed her to get involved in her community through DA-run programs like Legal Lives, which brings the criminal justice system to Brooklyn’s elementary schools. “Members of the DA staff and I visit schools and talk with children about the importance of making good choices,” she said. “It’s about reaching them before they get into the system.”

She has extended her reach even further into the community through her work with New York Cares. Since she started lending her time and talent to the volunteer organization in 2010, she has been involved in a variety of efforts to help disadvantaged New Yorkers; from working at coat drives to providing résumé help and preparation to older adults to engaging in recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Williams is also involved with Global Tassels, Inc., an organization whose mission is to provide students, living in poverty from less developed nations, access to a college education. 

Her interest in giving back is rooted in the experiences she had as an undergraduate student at Adelphi. “Some people liked their college,” she said. “But I loved Adelphi. My experience was wonderful. I had great professors, made great friends…it was just a warm, friendly environment.”

As a student she was a member of the Caribbean Cultural Coalition, the African Peoples Organization, and the Student Government Association. She was also involved in the Gospel Choir and served as a mentor in Eddy Hall and a resident assistant in Waldo Hall. She was most active in Adelphi’s community service organization, C.A.L.I.B.E.R. “At Adelphi I had C.A.L.I.B.E.R., but after graduating I felt like, what can I contribute to now?” she said. “I loved C.A.L.I.B.E.R. so much that I wanted to get more involved on a larger scale.”

Williams, who loves traveling, has also participated in humanitarian efforts abroad. In two recent trips, to Tanzania and Senegal, she brought supplies to students at different schools with her travel group. “It was amazing to see the joy on the children’s faces,” she said. “Receiving those books, pencils, paper…it made a huge difference to them.”

In Africa, she has also traveled to Zanzibar, The Gambia, South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana. “Being exposed to different cultures helps me to appreciate what I have,” she said. “We live in a society where everything is more, more, more. When you go to certain places, you see that people don’t have more, more, more, but yet they are still content.” Williams is already thinking about a trip for 2015: either to Ethiopia or Ghana.

The first in her family to graduate from college, Williams is also an adjunct professor at Metropolitan College of New York, where she teaches a course on contemporary values and ethics. “To be able to influence and inspire my students to greatness is an opportunity that I do not take for granted,” she said. She is also actively involved in her church, the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, where she is an usher and a mentor to the youth.

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