Hello! My name is Jillian Roth…

My Orientation Name Tag

My Orientation Name Tag


I am a MBA/MA in Educational Leadership student.

Three words to describe me are detail-oriented, passionate, and adventurous.

I look forward to meeting each of you.




This is how I introduced myself at the recent New Student Orientation. Being a working professional and part-time graduate student are just two of the many “roles” I play as I move through the world and experience this journey called life. This isn’t the first time I’ve introduced myself here; however, with each new chapter, the introduction seems to shift. As such, so does the focus of this blog. I will continue to share my muses about the just and unjust in the world while sharing my adventures of being a Black queer woman, small business owner, lover of beads, wife (more on this new distinction later), daughter, sister, and friend. I look forward to chronicling what I’m thinking about, exploring, learning, reading, creating, and ultimately doing—Educating & Advocating, all while Accessorizing—to “Make a Difference, One Bead at a Time…” 

I hope you will follow me on this journey of joyous passion and unknown adventures!

CALL 2 ACTION: I’m still figuring out a more consistent blog schedule, so stay informed of new posts by signing up for “Justice Happenings…” here. And, you can always connect with me on Facebook & Twitter (see like and follow buttons on the right-hand sidebar). Thanks!


3 Lessons I’ve Learned from My Mother…

Mom Whispers

On this Mother’s Day, when motherhood feels realistically on the horizon and many of my dear friends are about to be or are already amazing mothers, I’d like to honor my mother:

Marsha G. Ross

by sharing with the world what she has taught me thus far.

  1. How to Love. I have never doubted your love for me. Sure, we’ve had our moments of disagreement that led to hurt feels, yet I’ve always known when the day ends that I am your baby and you love me.
  2. How to Celebrate Life. Stephanie recently asked me, “What are we celebrating now?” Part of me wanted to get defensive and then I realized that I learned this valuable lesson from you, mom. Whether big or small, there’s always something positive to highlight during the day. A recent example: turning in my final for the business course I’m taking—allowing me to have a complete working business plan for Jillybeads 4 Justice. Oh, and it was FRI-day!!
  3. The Power of Open & Authentic Communication. This lesson is one of experience and hindsight. I’m positive there are times my mom wasn’t completely upfront with me, yet what I remember most is that she never shared more than she thought I could handle. Although sometimes with too much tough love, I appreciate that I can share just about anything with my mom with little to no embarrassment or shame, which connects back to point #1.

As this special day slips away from memory, I ask you to consider two things:

  1. What has your mom taught you? And…
  2. Let’s think of ways to support our moms throughout the year. As Janet Walsh highlights in her article, “Mark Mother’s Day by Reforming Family Leave Laws in US.”

Oh, and maybe one more…love your mom and those who are moms throughout the year…

we wouldn’t be here without them!!

~ One Love ~

Celia Says: 10 things I learned by writing “Starring Celia”

Excited to follow along to learn what you learned…rock on…CONGRATS!!

Go Girls! Camp

I teach girls what I want to learn myself. This series of 10 blog posts will celebrate the lessons I put out for Celia to wrestle with, just as I wrestle with them in my own life.  Celia Says will bring to life one lesson a week- a way for you to tap into your inner Go Girl! with courage and compassion. Our girls are watching…what do we want them to see?

  1. Smaller Starring Celia CoverA Go Girl! takes center stage in her own life
  2. What’s my role? Bully…Victim…Bystander
  3. Feel your big feelings- they won’t go away until you do
  4. Let someone welcome you
  5. Put your mistakes in the Tower of Oops!
  6. Protect the vulnerable
  7. Protect yourself from words that hurt
  8. Have the hard conversation
  9. Imagine a new ending
  10. Celebrate the star you are

See you next week!!!

Until then, you can get your copy of Starring Celia here>>>

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J4J Challenge Month #1: Raising Awareness and Funds for Global Seva (Kerrie Kauer’s Challenge)

This is a guest post by Kerrie Kauer.


This month I am grateful to be collaborating with Jillian Roth, visionary for Jillybeads 4 Justice, a unique company that educates, advocates, and creates beautiful art for social justice causes. Jillian and I met in graduate school at the University of Tennessee in 2004, and shared a passion for creating social change, particularly around the empowerment of girls and women in sport. Eight years later, we are connecting again around our shared passion for social justice advocacy, and I couldn’t be more delighted!

During the month of October, I am part of Jillian’s “Challenge Month,” which will highlight Off The Mat, Into the World’s Global Seva as an organization Jillybeads 4 Justice is showing extra LOVE to from Monday, October 1 – Wednesday, October 31 by doing the following:

– Donating $5 from each piece sold;
– Offering free shipping on all custom orders; and
– Giving Voice to the Cause through a guest post on the J4J blog.

In addition, Off The Mat, Into the World’s Global Seva will be one of the three international “Featured Organizations” that customers can select to have their $10 donation go to with the purchase of each piece. As Jillian sees it, “It’s the kind of win-win we at Jillybeads 4 Justice strive towards—a piece of jewelry is sold and great work is supported!”

My work with Off The Mat, Into the World (OTM) has unfolded over the last two years and began with a 5-day leadership intensive. I had experienced a great deal of personal transformation through my own yoga practice, and I was particularly drawn to OTM’s politics and advocacy around social justice issues. While many non-profits often serve to reproduce paternalistic and imperialist agendas, particularly in developing nations, I saw the philosophy of OTM replicating a strong transnational feminist and social justice framework that worked with communities, and instead of for communities. My background in social justice education and feminist research prepared me for the intellectual work I do, but OTM has prepared me for the activist work in an entirely different way. I learned to feel sources of injustice in a more embodied way and work through some of my own tensions that wasn’t serving my activism (or research) very well. I have been taught to think critically about organizations, albeit sport or other non-profits, that enter into communities thinking soccer or basketball is a panacea for the injustices or poverty these communities face. OTM is not that organization, and they recognize that yoga, as a physical practice, is just a piece of the puzzle. They value the reciprocal relationship between personal transformation and social action; the core of this imbedded in Patanjali’s first two limbs of the 8-limbed path of yoga where the yamas (personal restraints) and niyamas (social observances) do not act in isolation of one another.

I feel confident in the work that OTM is doing, so much so that I recently became part of the Global Seva Challenge to raise awareness and funds around the issue of sex trafficking. As part of the Global Seva Challenge, I am charged with raising $20,000 that will go to sustainable efforts for six organizations in India. Many of these organizations are working with survivors of the sex trafficking industry through education, healing movement, micro-financing, and policy change. While the Global Seva Challenge will directly impact survivors in India, the awareness created around this issue can cross international borders, and speaks to a broader volume of cultural, economic, and gender injustices that are occurring worldwide. 100% of the money I raise will go directly to 6 different grassroots organizations (See here: http://www.offthematintotheworld.org/indiapartners.html) that are currently working with survivors of sex trafficking. OTM has partnered with amazing organizations that are already at the forefront of this issue and are working to make a difference.

According the Trafficking in Persons report, over 2 million children are subjected to the global commercial sex trade; “Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possible death.” This is a global social justice issue, but for me I also see this a feminist issue. Approximately 80% of those trafficked are girls and women. While some women in the west have experienced equality on some fronts, I am reminded of Audre Lorde’s reflection that, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” Off The Mat, Into The World embodies this quote; recognizing that we are all connected and the unity among us can be our greatest strength. I must recognize that I am those women and girls who are enslaved, and that my own liberation as a woman is bound up with the liberation of other women and girls around the globe, even if their circumstances look entirely different than my own.

I am honored to collaborate with Jillian on this project, and know that a deep level of love and commitment to social justice is manifested through her art. Each piece holds her intention and energy around making difference, so buying her jewelry is a win-win for you too!

Check out Jillybeads 4 Justice’s Fall Collection here!!!

Inspirational Beauty Everywhere | What’s Next for Jillybeads 4 Justice…

Photo Taken by Nikole DeZao

It’s hard to fathom that it’s been almost 3 months since the launch of Jillybeads 4 Justice! Now don’t get me wrong, there were many tasks that went into making such an event a reality. However, in many ways, it was simply the starting line.

Just like the athletes who did and will compete in London, when the whistle blows or the gun fires is truly when the real work begins—everything else was simply preparation. As many of you know, Jillybeads 4 Justice is not what pays the bills (at least not yet). As a result, the work happens in the evenings, during lunch breaks, and on weekends and holidays. For some, that may seem like too much to balance. For me, its easy to put in the extra time after an already long day when it’s created from my heart and passion—the desire to have something to call my own that allows for the intersections of my interests to Advocate, Educate, and Accessorize.

Advocate: to speak or write in support or defense of a person or cause.

Those that know me, know that I’m vocal about the causes I care about. They vary from women’s issues (e.g. Title IX, freedom of choice, empowerment, etc.) to LGBTQ rights and marriage equality to racial and economic justice to education to our Mother Earth. Despite the breadth, there’s a unifying factor—social justice. I’ve been privileged to have the resources to critically analyze my experiences as a Black queer woman living in a perceived “post-racial,” heteronormative, patriarchal U.S. society. I pull a lot from my personal experience, as it’s the best “data” I have at my fingertips.

Yes, Jillybeads 4 Justice is a business. A business that advocates knowing that activism is political and courageously takes a stand for justice. I believe our purpose is to use our voice and networks to advocate for the great work that’s being done in the Bay Area, throughout the country, and beyond the U.S. borders. In order to do so, I believe it takes teamwork with like-minded individuals. Thus, Jillybeads 4 Justice (J4J) will be collaborating with causes and organizations to further support their work while getting the word out about J4J.

You might be thinking, “What will this look like?” The first action will be what we call, Challenge Week. Challenge Week will be a Featured Organization that Jillybeads 4 Justice is showing extra LOVE to during a specified week(s) by doing the following:

  • Donating $5 from each piece sold;
  • Offering free shipping on all custom orders; and
  • Giving Voice to the Cause through a guest post on the J4J blog.

It’s the kind of win-win we  at Jillybeads 4 Justice—a piece of jewelry is sold and great work is supported!

Stay tuned for the first Challenge Week, which will kickoff the launch of our Fall Collection…

Educate: to inform a person or group.

In many ways, education comes before advocacy. I could argue, you have to become knowledgeable—personally and intellectually—about what you care about before taking action. Much of my knowledge has been acquired traditionally through higher education, yet I believe knowledge is everywhere and should come from more than the dominant source. This work is personal. I will always share what I know from my mind and heart while a community of smart, brilliant, thoughtful, and passionate people that’s constantly expanding inspires my work. I also believe its just as much my mission to share the “mic” and give voice to those who are engaged in the work that Jillybeads for Justice supports.

Since launching J4J, I would say I have continued being a perpetual learner. Much can be learned from a book, yet I would say my favorite medium is through travel whatever the means—car, plane, train, or boat. Since April, I’ve had the great fortune to visit numerous cities, 9 states, and Canada through varying means. I enjoy exploring what each city, state, and country has to offer in terms of culture, food, shopping, and recreation while capturing the great moments through photos (See my album of 2012 Summer Inspiration). On many of these adventures, I’ve acquired the beads that will inspire the 2012 Fall & Holiday Collections.

This “live” education reminds me that we all have a role to play. One of these roles is teacher. I have the upmost respect for teachers and educators at every level. This is why I love my “day” job because I, as a member of a team of people, have the privilege of supporting teachers all over the country to conduct teacher-led professional development (lesson study) with high-quality resources. Then we research the impact these resources have on both teacher and student learning. As Deborah Kenny states in her book Born to Rise, “Education is not about developing products. It’s about developing people.” Even though Jillybeads 4 Justice sells a product, the product is simply a means of enacting praxis—a cyclical process of reflection and action. Thus, advocacy informs reflection and often more knowledge. It’s my hope that through this journey I can educate those who support Jillybeads 4 Justice.

Accessorize: to equip the public with high-quality unique handmade jewelry that inspires.

I have many ideas for the 2012 Fall & Holiday Collections floating around in my head. I’ve been inspired by the beauty in every city I’ve passed through or intentionally visited, as well as the many people I’ve met, the knowledge gained, and visions for which I aspire. I’m stoked to see how the beauty that’s been infused into my soul translates into beautiful pieces to wear.

Stay tuned for the results, which will launch in early October with the introduction of the 2012 Fall Collection!!!

~One love~

CALL 2 ACTION: For many the Olympics is over, not so! The 2012 Summer Paralympics Games kick-off this week in London (Wed, August 29—Sun, September 9). For more information, check out: http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/ and tune into the channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/USParalympics1. Show your support for ALL athletes!