"Get Ahead of Life Before Life Gets Ahead of You!"
Claire Jones - Buddhist, Proud Mother, Black Disabled Barbadian, Paralysis, Lymphoma & Childhood Domestic Violence Survivor
Virtual Public Speaker
Claire Jones is a Black disabled domestic violence and lymphoma survivor, smoldering multiple myeloma patient, Buddhist, Frances Perkins Scholar, and Mount Holyoke graduate. In 2020, she spoke virtually to domestic violence activists at YWCA Central MA. In early 2023, she spoke at the Voices of Women International Women's Day Summit. In August 2023, she presented her first workshop, "A 50% Chance of Paralysis: How I Utilized Journaling As Self-Reflection During Cancer Treatment." In February 2024, Claire and her daughter, Amaranthia Sepia, were virtual panelists in "Unmasking Grief: Writers Confront the Illusion of Post-Pandemic Recovery," hosted by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference (AWP).
To help marginalized women activate their light, in the middle of chaos, by recognizing the causes & effects of intergenerational trauma
Documentary: "A 50% Chance of Paralysis: Get Ahead of Life Before Life Get's Ahead of You"
What would you do?
if your feet - your feet that listened when you called upon them to walk you out of childhood domestic violence in your 20s - if your feet that listened to you to cross oceans to fight for your education - ceased to function? If your feet that once listened and walked you to the slave castles on the western coast of Africa, allowing you to stand at The Door of No Return, off the coast of Senegal, where your ancestors were forced into ships that took them into slavery in the Americas, collapsed under you? If those feet that carried you through 29 houses until you found your home in the 30th no longer allowed you to walk out from that home on your own — if those feet suddenly stopped walking in your 59th year. Only to get out of said home by a special chair, lifted by medics from an ambulance as your mobility slowly dripped and drained from your inert body.
What would you do?
On March 25th, 2022, Claire Jones received emergency surgery for a massive lymphoma growth on her upper spine and was told she had a 50% chance of paralysis. Black women have been forced into living within the strong and resilient stereotype and burdened with the idea that we must nurture others without putting our needs and mental health first. Claire believes this stressor, alongside past traumas, manifested as a spinal tumor. Claire knew whatever emerged on the other side of that moment, she had to rise, with or without those feet that carried her.
Follow Claire’s journey, documented by her daughter Amaranthia, intertwined with real-time footage, Claire’s spoken word performance art, Amaranthia’s narrative artwork, and original music by agender disabled creative Mel Chilianis, as she faces herself and becomes one of the 1% that can walk again after high-risk spinal surgery. Throughout the film, Claire wears KN95 masks during performance pieces, representing her immunocompromised disabled identity.
This film is a precursor to Claire’s in-progress memoir, Sista Survivor: Diary of An Immigrant's Spiritual Journey To Legitimacy
A 50% Chance of Paralysis: How I Utilized Journaling as Self-Reflection During Cancer Treatment." August 2023
Claire presented her first disability accessible virtual keynote & interactive presentation where she discussed how writing is like oxygen to her. Claire breaks down for her audience how art & writing can be used as a tool to cope with trauma, how to utilize her mantra "Clarity, Awareness, Presence, Acceptance & Gratitude" to cleanse your emotional palette, how to self-advocate as a WOC in medical settings, and more.