By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
As a teenager coming of age in Brownsville’s Langton Hughes housing projects, Pamela Fuller literally dodged bullets and survived. Today her story inspires teenagers to believe in themselves and their future.
“When I was growing up in the ’80s, Brooklyn was rough. One day my two friends and I decided to walk to Stone Avenue,” Fuller recalled. “At the last minute I forgot something and stayed behind. Then I heard gunshots and saw gunmen. I froze, unable to move. My friend called to me; she was shot. Another time a bullet came through the wall of our apartment.” Fuller said her close encounters with gun violence, and help she received from workers at a nearby local community center, changed her life. She glommed onto those mentors, many of whom were DC 37 members. “They took time with me,” Fuller said. “We went on trips outside our neighborhood, to the movies, Coney Island, museums. They kept me encouraged and motivated.”
“I come from humble beginnings,” Fuller said. “My mom had us in activities that gave me a different outlook on life. I saw there is more to life than the projects. I never let it define who I am.”
Fuller was determined; she took courses at BMCC and attended court reporting school at night. Eventually, she graduated with a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. Fuller landed her dream job as a grand jury stenographer in the Queens District Attorney’s Office. She also is very active as a Local 1070 executive board member and citywide chapter chair.
A parent of two, Fuller advocates for disabled students, including her son who is on the autistic spectrum. “Autism should not preclude someone from access to education,” Fuller said. “I fought for my son and for students like him, and that’s opened a door to better opportunities for them.”
She counts her blessings, and for 23 years has paid it forward by mentoring young people and teaching Sunday School at Allen AME Church in Springfield Gardens, Queens.
“It’s hard for them to believe I come from the same place and once experienced the same fears and frustrations,” Fuller said. “I tell young people who face similar challenges ‘I am just like you. I was your age once. I made an effort to make right choices. You can, too. I dare them to dream bigger than their circumstances.’”
“Pam Fuller is such an outstanding person for whom I have the highest regard,” said Local 1070 President Fausto Sabatino. “She gives a lot of herself to help others achieve their hopes and dreams.”