HOUSTON (FOX 26) - “Our life was hard, it was hard,” said Houston Independent School District board member Jolanda Jones.
You’ll probably wonder how she got up and faced each day after you hear the details of Jones’ trauma-filled childhood.
“I was with my dad when he blew his brains out,” Jones said during a recent school board meeting. “We got evicted all the time.”
During that meeting, Jones let all of her painful childhood memories come tumbling out for public consumption.
“When I was going to school, I was being raped by my 6' 7" uncle and I was 8 years old,” Jones said from the board table.
“He did horrible things to me,” Jones told FOX 26. “I didn’t literally tell anybody tell I was 21.”
What prompted Jones to relive her horrific past in front of her fellow board members?
It happened after another trustee talked about what a lot of children at one HISD school face each day.
Jones used her own childhood to make clear it’s happening to a lot of kids at a lot of Houston schools.
“If you want to know why I fight like I fight, that’s why because I am these kids,” Jones pointed out to her fellow board members.
Jones is the oldest of five children. She says her mother had five kids with four different men.
“CPS tried to take us away from our mom because she couldn’t afford daycare,” Jones said during Monday’s board meeting.
The star athlete grew up knowing true hunger pains and nagging guilt from seeing her father put a gun to his head.
“I was very ashamed for a long time. I blamed myself for my dad’s suicide, blamed myself for a lot of things,” Jones said. “You don’t pick what family you’re born into.”
Nothing is off limits for the former Houston City Council member.
“We have a lot of incest in my family, a lot of it,” Jones said. “I did try to kill myself on many occasions.”
When she was young, Jones says she kept all the bad in her life a secret but lived in fear it would somehow be exposed. Then she says she realized none of it could hurt her or stop her if she was the one exposing it.
“I’m going to own it,” Jones said. “Yea I’m that kid whose dad killed himself and I turned out okay. I’m that kid that was raped, brutalized by my uncle and I’m okay. I’m that kid where we all have different daddies but I’m okay.”