Jamila T. Davis is a Ph.D. candidate, co-founder of a nonprofit, and author of 12 books, in addition to being an advocate for women who are incarcerated. Davis, however, spent nine years in federal prison at Danbury State for mortgage fraud. Her tale demonstrates that sometimes adversity is a chance in disguise. She just joined the 600,000 individuals freed from state and federal prisons each year. Davis founded Voices International Publications while serving her sentence with the assistance of her mother to print publications that would encourage incarcerated women to recover, recognize their potential, and reclaim their aspirations. She discussed how she overcame a setback to succeed and the celebrity encounter that motivated her to pursue a career that served as her motivation for founding Women Over Incarcerated.
Jamila stated that the prison was one of the darkest journeys she had been on in her life. However, it gave her the time that she needed to heal, tap into her purpose and become her most fabulous self. She began healing when the doors locked behind her, and she was stripped of the material possessions that once used to define her self-worth. After experiencing it, all Davis was forced to seek a close relationship with God and to accept the reality of her past poor choices. She said that God showed up honestly and tangibly when she finally surrendered. She used the majority of her time in meditation to connect with the universe, which helped her to see what good could come out of her experience. That served as her motivation while she was battling the dark time.
Jamila began writing self-help books for incarcerated women. When Davis was released a decade later, she began to use the self-help and writing skills she honed in prison in significant ways by using her experience as the blueprint. She shared the road maps she used for her previous success and realized that the information she provided filled a void for many women she encountered. We are frequently fired or tossed aside, left to eat the leftover crumbs. Jamila believes that being an independent black woman, it was essential for her to have something of her own because the black lady is not valued in the world. Writing the book, “Built To Outlast The Storm” was, therefore, a personal effort to further the cause of her people, particularly black women.
For black greatness to take center stage in today’s society, Jamila believes that we need more black authors, publishers, illustrators, and other creatives of color. Black tales must be told; hence she believes her work as a black best-selling novelist is revolutionary. She emphasizes the need to work today to succeed. In addition to advocating for jailed women, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Women Over Incarcerated also educates the public about the societal effects of the growing epidemic of women in prison and works to empower them following their release through counseling, mentorship, and clothing. While Covid-19 has altered how businesses are conducted, Davis’ mission to empower youth and adults, as well as to end the school-to-prison pipeline and transform how we view those imprisoned and the need for prison reform, has not been affected. She is in high demand as a speaker and activist, a motivation for black women around the globe to take control of their lives and make the most of it!