Jamila A. Russell is the American Mothers Inc® U.S. Virgin Islands 2019 Mother of the Year recipient, according to a press release from Junia John-Straker, American Mothers Inc® Virgin Islands Chapter president.
American Mothers Inc® is a national organization committed to valuing mothers through service and education since 1935. It is dedicated to improving the lives of mothers and children at home, at work and in the world. Each year, it honors motherhood by naming the National Mother of the Year® during an annual convention held in Washington D.C. This year’s convention will be held April 28 through May 1 at the historic Mayflower Hotel.
Jamila A. Russell was selected because she has demonstrated the ideals of the founding members, helping mothers and children in need. Russell has used her voice to advocate on behalf of mothers, especially those who have children with special needs. She has taken her maternal energy and used it for positive change.
Russell has organized anti-violence marches, used her radio program to speak out against gun violence and a myriad of issues that affect the lives of Virgin Islanders, and has given mothers who have no voice her voice to advocate for positive change in the community. She has also allowed the community into her life and shares her experiences so that others will not feel isolated.
Jamila A. Russell, born and raised on St. Croix, has two sons, Lauritz, 21, who became an intellectually functional quadriplegic at age 15 and Shashamani, 12, who happens to have Downs Syndrome.
Russell credits her maternal grandmother, Isabel Maria Romero, who raised her, as her greatest inspiration; her mother Letticia Maria Barnes, who is in recovery, is her greatest motivation; her two sons Lauritz and Shashamani for giving and being her life’s purpose, and her family and friends for being her support system.
“I am humbled and extremely honored to have been chosen. I am far from a perfect mother, but every day I get a chance to be a better mom than I was yesterday and I know love and faith will take you very far, it is all my Granny had and she was amazing!” Russell said.