Young author turns pain into purpose

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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LAPLACE —Grappling with the aftereffects of a horrific sexual assault and second trimester pregnancy loss at only 15 years old, Jada Brown of LaPlace felt like everyone in her life had forgotten how to love her. In reality, she knew she had an army of people who wanted to help her but didn’t know how.

Brown used writing as an outlet to turn pain into purpose. Her experiences have given rise to three books and a nonprofit organization called The Uncomfortable Project that gives communities tools for starting conversations about sexual abuse.

Brown, now a rising college sophomore at Brigham Young University in Utah, is returning home to LaPlace to host an insightful, thought-provoking conversation about empowerment and self-love. A Night with thejadabrown will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at virtually and in person at Salad Depot, located at 299 Belle Terre Blvd. Ste F&G in LaPlace.

During the night of heartfelt conversation, food and entertainment, Brown will discuss her debut book “Because Someone Forgot to Love You,” her best-seller “Dear Freedom Writer” and the upcoming launch of her newest title, “Body.”

“Writing has always been my outlet. Instead of turning to sex, drugs, and alcohol, I was able to put pen to paper. Since my dad and other family members weren’t comfortable with me sharing what happened, essentially the notebook was the friend I had that could listen without any judgement,” Brown said.

“Because Someone Forgot to Love You” uses abstract poetry to reflect Brown’s journey to healing, something that turned out to be a nonlinear process. Formatted like a cookbook, each chapter hones in on a different component or “ingredient” to healing. The writing starts in a bitter, raw place and gradually takes on a hopeful tone.

Brown was among 50 students worldwide handpicked as a featured author in the 2022 bestselling novel “DEAR FREEDOM WRITER: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation.” The Freedom Writer platform gave Brown an opportunity to tell the story of her sexual assault in a memoir format. One of Brown’s fellow Freedom Writer authors, Brenis Bostick of Miami, will join her during this week’s event in LaPlace to share his own story about turning pain into purpose.

Brown’s newest book, “Body,” delves into the mind, body, soul, and how to love yourself in the social media generation. The book touches on body neutrality, eating disorders and other challenges Brown experienced through her trauma.

Brown also hopes to continue growing her nonprofit, The Uncomfortable Project, until it branches out into different areas of the country. She is finetuning a program called “Start the Conversation” so it will be readily available to send out to schools, churches and other community and youth organizations.

“It’s taboo to talk about, but mental health is important. That aspect of being able to feel safe in your own body and mind is very important,” Brown said. “My advice to someone (who wants to help a person who has experienced sexual assault) is to take a breath and take a minute before you react. Understand that you are in essence the first responder. Sexual assault is a unique crime because you usually don’t find out about it until after the fact; teachers, parents, counselors are the first ones who usually hear about it. It’s important not to judge, to listen, and ask them what they need in that moment. Calling the cops and everything else will come later. Let them know someone is in their corner.”

Brown is currently studying political science and hopes to become an attorney to advocate for sexual assault survivors.  She’s made progress advocating for herself among her own family members, including her father, who now understands her need to speak out and even helped coordinate this week’s event.

General admission to A Night with thejadabrown is $5 and open to ages 13+. Tickets include dinner, music and entertainment, a live q&a, a book signing, and door prize raffles. While books will be available for sale, guests are free to bring their own copy of Brown’s book to be signed.

To RSVP, visit Brown’s books can be found on Amazon or at