Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Jamila Lyiscott: 3 ways to speak English

Jamila Lyiscott is a “tri-tongued orator;” in her powerful spoken-word essay “Broken English,” she celebrates — and challenges — the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, in the classroom and with her parents. As she explores the complicated history and present-day identity that each language represents, she unpacks what it means to be “articulate.”

Jamila Lyiscott is currently an advanced doctoral candidate and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College where her work focuses on the education of the African Diaspora. She is also an adjunct professor at Long Island University where she teaches on adult and adolescent literacy within the Urban Education system. A spoken word artist since the age of fifteen, Jamila works with youth, educators, and activists throughout the city to create spaces that reflect and engage the cultures and values of black and brown youth inside and outside of the classroom.

A Zankel Fellow, Lyiscott is also working as a Graduate Research Fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education where she leads the Cyphers For Justice youth, research, and advocacy program. Jamila’s poetry and scholarly work has been published in Teachers and Writers Collaborative Magazine and English Journal. She has directed several conferences and projects both locally and internationally and has presented both spoken word and academic papers at many seminars. Through her community, scholastic, and artistic efforts, Jamila hopes to play a key role in forging better connections between the world of academia and communities of color outside.