Jewel A. Walker-Terrell is a 40 year old Jackson, MS native living with HIV.
Jewel is a state retiree from the MS Department of Employment Security. A 1990 graduate of Provine High School, she attended Tougaloo College and MS University for Women, majoring in music and speech pathology.
Diagnosed with HIV in the early winter of 2008, you would have thought this would have changed her life for the worse. Instead of her wallowing in self pity and allowing herself to succumb to this deadly virus, Jewel became proactive in her healthcare and vigilant in her fight to see the stigmas associated with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, eradicated.
In the early spring of 2009 Jewel became a member of the support group, A Brave New Day, in the Jackson, MS area. This support group was geared towards uplifting and motivating individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Jewel’s dedication and drive to see people educated about HIV and her desire to see the stigmas associated with the virus erased, landed her a position as board member where she remained until their closing in August of 2012.
Jewel has co-hosted and been a recurring guest on SYGU Radio, an internationally known internet radio show where she has helped to educate the listeners on the basics of HIV and the importance of getting tested, encouraging them through music and positive affirmations.
Jewel was also formerly the co-host of a nationwide telephone support group called Real Talk Real Issues on Wednesday evenings with Ms. Sonya Live of 94.7 radio out of Titusville, Florida. Real Talk Real Issues was a support group which uplifted, supported and gave those living with HIV/AIDS and those newly diagnosed an avenue to ask questions, voice concerns and to just have a listening ear when the burdens of living with HIV/AIDS became a hardship. This support group has since closed its phone lines due to the host deciding to start advocating closer to home.
Jewel affirms that until she can no longer do so, she will fight the good fight of faith by encouraging others to love and protect themselves and to believe in themselves because HIV is not a death sentence but it is a life sentence and with education, a proactive take on treatment, great moral support and a strong spiritual foundation, one can keep their eyes fixed upward in love, joy, happiness and peace with H. I. V., which to her means Heaven In View!
Why Jewel wants to be a part of A Girl Like Me: I would love to motivate and encourage women and girls to love themselves first. I want to also motivate them to be their own cheerleaders, even when they so desperately desire the encouraging words of others.