Winning Essay by Abbey B. from Louisiana attends Southeastern Louisiana University

While searching for an individual that would be fitting to be deemed an inspiration, the name Jackie Hill-Perry came to mind. Jackie is set apart in many ways as she is an African-American woman who has become a public figure. Her life experiences and consequent actions have served to inspire not only myself, but thousands of others. Jackie has been influential in motivating myself and thousands by calling us to action.

Because of Jackie’s traumatic past experiences, she is a resilient and enduring woman. At the age of five years old, Jackie was sexually abused by a family friend. This event stripped Jackie of her innocence and called into question her sexuality. As a result, many years of confusion and hurt ensued. Despite this trauma, Jackie chose to look beyond her negative life experiences and take control of her own life in the ways over which she had power. Today, Jackie is called many things, among which are wife and mother. Jackie’s life is an example to me that individuals who have suffered significant hardships can accomplish incredible things. Her current success proves that past trauma does not have to define someone, but instead it can act as a facilitator in building resilience and endurance.

Perhaps the most influential aspect of Jackie’s life is that she is a public speaker, an author, and a hip hop artist. She travels the country inspiring thousands with her words of encouragement and conviction. I am personally inspired by her through her authorship and musical abilities. I am a writer and a singing enthusiast. At times, I struggle to share my talents with others out of fear of what others will think. Because of Jackie’s continued work as an author and a musical artist, I am motivated to continue writing and singing.

As a speaker, author, and musical artist, Jackie has contributed greatly to my life and the lives of others. Jackie inspires me to continue to grow as an individual and to overcome because I have experienced similar difficulties. Her example encourages me to speak about my life story because Jackie has proven that life stories have a profound impact on other individuals in being a catalyst for change. Additionally, Jackie has proven through her struggle with past sexual trauma and her confusion regarding her sexuality that despite challenging circumstances, victory in life is possible. She has undoubtedly shown that it is possible to stand firm even when doing or saying something that is unpopular. As a result, her work has contributed in motivating myself and others to grow and cause change.

Jackie Hill-Perry’s life serves as an inspiration. This woman has demonstrated that what one becomes is completely one’s choice. Jackie’s actions following the trauma in her life have displayed to thousands that African-American women are resilient and enduring people. Her work as a speaker, author, and musical artist has spurred me to action and has assuredly motivated thousands of others as well to pursue change both personally and in the world.


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