Service inspires Freedom Richardson to serve his community


SGA President Freedom Richardson elbow bumps HMA member Maryann Herrera at a student organization fair. Richardson said his life is motivated by service. Photo credit: Madeline Taliancich

Domonique Tolliver

SGA President Freedom Richardson was born in a family that has a dedication to service.

Richardson said his father served in the Navy and his mother served in Operation Desert Storm and the Army under the Bush Administration. He also has an older brother who’s in the Texas National Guard.

Richardson’s mother was self-employed and running marathons when he was a kid to raise money and awareness for social justice causes while also motivational speaking.

“She believed that you could work 80 hours for yourself, as opposed to 40 hours for someone else and be just as successful,” Richardson said.

Richardson said that his mother fought to reunite their family after his father was sentenced to 60 years in state prison for a robbery.

“She is his champion,” Richardson said, whose father was granted clemency by the Governor of Louisiana in September of 2018.

Richardson’s family has a documentary on their family story named “Time.” His mother has written a book about their life as well.

Richardson said he has furthered his commitment to service at Loyola as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and SGA. Richardson said his community has helped him grow into the leader he is today.

Richardson was introduced to SGA through first year council. He said that he saw the opportunity as a way to get his feet wet in public service. In spring of 2018, as a first year student, Richardson ran for senator at-large and won. Soon after, he ran for vice president and won that ticket, as well.

For Richardson, SGA is a leadership development opportunity and a team sport. He said that during his term as vice president, he and his 22 senators wrote 52 bills in the fall semester, which was the most in the past five years that any senate has produced.

After his vice president term last year, Richardson said he knew he had to run for president alongside his best friend, Zontré City. Richardson said Zontré has made him a better president.

Together, Richardson said they’ve increased funding for the campus food pantry by over 250%. They also appointed the first director of equity and inclusion in Loyola’s SGA. They also got a voting student member on the board of trustees, which hasn’t been done in 112 years, according to Richardson.

“I want to be known as somebody that rejected the status quo at every opportunity,” he said.

Apart from SGA, Richardson is a part of the Rho Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He said that his decision to join Greek life was rooted in the organization’s values.

His chapter was chosen as the number one in the state and their chapter president, the number one alpha Brother in the state.

“Whatever I do, it will be in honor of service and the sacrifices of my parents,” he said. “Wherever we can make the most difference is where I’m headed.”

Richardson said he is connected to his parents and six brothers despite them living across the country. His twin brother Justus is in the military and lives in South Korea.

“My twin brother literally knows me like the back of his hand,” Richardson said.

Even though Richardson is involved on and off campus, he said he did not always see himself in a leadership role.

Initially, Richardson said he wanted to be a reporter and pursue journalism and public relations.

“I thought a scrawny Black kid like me with a funny name could be on TV just like Lester Holt,” Richardson said.

Richardson said that throughout his journey, he’s been most inspired by his community-at-large.

“All I’ve done would not be possible without the team that I had around me,” he said. “Loyola and New Orleans are filled with inspiring people.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated as of March 6, 2021.