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Home » Discover Rackham » Meet the Bloggers: Jallicia Jolly

I was 15 years old when I discovered my love for words.

My arms swung loosely and bones shook on the Brooklyn spoken word poetry stage. As I faced the fear of performing untold stories, the gates of my heart opened. Etched along the walls of my mind, were the tales of a Jamaican immigrant child, legacies of Caribbean womancestors, journeys along kindred routes, and lives that face unspeakable traumas. The contours of my life filled every line, forming pieces of life stories that refused to be silenced. I spoke.

I am a Jamaican American ethnographer, HIV/AIDS educator, and reproductive justice advocate. With fierce curiosity, I continue to write about the dimensions of survival in various cultural contexts. I am a 3rd year American Culture Ph.D. student. My doctoral work focuses on reproductive justice and HIV/AIDS; motherhood, illness and sexuality; and institutional engagement, intimacy, and coping. I currently study the coping strategies of HIV-positive young mothers living in Kingston, Jamaica and Detroit, Michigan. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I remain committed to mixed-methods research that is transnational, intercultural, and collaborative.

Step into my research space. My interlocutors are HIV-positive Black women. My methods are life histories and ethnography. It is the fourth decade of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. AIDS diagnoses are decreasing globally for every age group except adolescents. In under-resourced communities in the U.S. and Jamaica, young Black women are disproportionately infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. How do we make sense of these realities? In what ways can we study them? Do we have a vocabulary to talk about them? I ask questions and seek nuanced responses that strike at the heart of psychosocial trauma, and gendered violence, and health inequities.

I study health. I breathe spoken word. I document the depths of survival. I write. Amidst the tides of silenced voices and heightened trauma, I hope to help create oceans of bridges that connect me to you, us to them. Curating spaces for restoration, learning and growth, I write.

Follow Jallicia on Instagram (@iamjallicia) and Twitter (@jallicia)