Jay’La in her own words
My name is Jay’La Evans, a recent graduate from Davidson College, from New Haven, CT. I graduated as a Sociology and Africana Studies double major, with a 3.6 GPA. As a first generation student, I found my experience at Davidson to be unique, but not exceptional. I have learned and blossomed in ways unimaginable, that I will carry on into my post-grad career, where I will be stepping into counseling and mentorship roles for youth in my community.”
This painting is entitled Pathways of Migration. It encapsulates the themes, symbols and experiences of those who have migrated— both voluntarily and involuntarily. It was inspired from a class taught by Dr.Peña & Dr. Frazier-Rath, called Race, Gender & Migration. In this course, we explored the lives, stories and encounters of Black adoptees transnationally, as well as other migrant perspectives. This course served as a critical learning course, in which we facilitated discussion with our peers, and guests who so graciously lended their personal experiences for our learning.
Creating this piece was extremely overwhelming, but rewarding. I was honored to be a part of the learning and unlearning that took place, as it relates to migratory experiences. Though difficult, I found it necessary to highlight and encapsulate the negative and positive experiences that many adoptees expressed. Walking away from this class—but not the BGHRA, I feel confident in my ability to be critical of the stories that the world tells us, as they are often different from the personal stories seldom told.
The class structure of Race, Gender & Migration, was also very essential to the learning that took place. It was a hybrid class cotaught by Dr.Peña & Dr. Frazier-Rath, which added an abundance of diversity in methodology and perspectives. Though the only Black student in the class, I was constantly reassured by my professors that my presence was valuable and necessary. We reviewed a number of sources including movies, academic texts, personal experiences, and more. This allowed the class to get a variety of nuanced perspectives, and engage with content differently. On days when we hosted a guest, the class facilitated discussion that we prepared for earlier in the week. This solidified the learning for me in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without these experiences. I am so grateful to have taken two classes by these amazing professors. With this class being one of my final classes at Davidson College, I feel assured that I have the skills to be critical, an advocate and ally for others, and lastly more assured in my identity.