Xia: Foster care won’t hold me back

Amber Gray

Xia Whitfield

Being in foster care isn’t holding back Xia Whitfield. She’s headed soon to Central State University.

And she’ll go with some extra cash. She’s the first winner of the Frances Hooks Scholarship, named for the long-time Memphis educator and civil rights activist. She plans to use the $1,500 to buy a laptop for school.

Hooks died in 2016. She was also a philanthropist and the wife of former national NAACP President Benjamin Hooks. Her great-granddaughter, Amberly Gray, founder of the local Where2Next Foundation mentors many teens in foster care and independent living. Gray’s focus is helping the teens find what’s next, to help them find successful paths.

Gray chose Whitfield for the scholarship after seeing a video prepared by Whitfield which detailed some dark days the teen dealt with as a child growing up in foster care. They also shared their story with WCPO-Channel 9.

Whitfield plans to major in criminal justice.