HERE I STAND is the extraordinary true story of Jillian Bullock, a young, African-American woman, who grows up during the 60’s and 70’s with her mother, Janet, and her white stepfather, Jake, a member of the Philadelphia Italian Mafia, who is also a film enthusiast. After his death, and when her mother kicks her out, Jillian becomes homeless at age 15. In order to survive the streets, she resorts to drugs, criminal activity and prostitution. However when she gets pregnant at 16, Jillian knows she must work to transform her life, not only for the sake of her unborn child, but to fulfill Jake’s dying wish for her to become a filmmaker and a screenwriter. Jillian fights to get off the streets, kick drugs and complete high school. She defies the odds by getting an internship at the Wall Street Journal newspaper while she studies communications and film in college, and raises her young son. Jillian continues to work to fulfill her stepfather’s dream and dying wish for her to become a screenwriter and filmmaker.
Jillian - Age 9
Jillian - Age 17 & son Clinton - Age 1
Clinton - Age 1 & Maketta - Age 2 1/2 (Jillian's Baby Sister)
High School Graduation Photo
Graduation photo from La Salle University (1991)
(Frank Allen, Bureau Chief of the Philadelphia Branch Wall Street Journal and my mentor)
Considering I’m involved in the entertainment and movie business, I know how things work. So far I have rejected offers to option the book and/or the screenplay, which I wrote. This isn’t about me making a quick buck, but to tell a story, my story, that will be entertaining as well as inspirational to audiences. Therefore, I am willing to wait until I connect with the “right” producer or director who sees and understands the vision of my story, and who can produce a film that will showcase the heart of a champion.
Dr. Ray Charles – One of my favorite poems is Invictus– “Out of the night that covers me/ Black as the pit from pole to pole/ I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul…” Here I Stand is a portrayal of the essence of this poem.
As I read this book from cover to cover at 30,000 feet on my 5+ hour flight on December 24, 2012, I was thankful that the fasten seat belt sign was on, for Jillian took me for a ride … on some occasions smooth, on other occasions turbulent.
This book is a masterpiece on resilience, mental toughness, honor, etc. The power of Here I Stand is in the after effect as in the aftershock of an earthquake. No different than the power of a speech is in the impact it has on your audience months later. I promise you this book will have the same ripple effect. I hesitate in using the word “book” because Here I Stand is more than a book … it is life in it’s most real form.
Carl Irwin – I just finished reading your script, Here I Stand. All I have to say is WOW! You are an absolutely astounding woman. This is a very gripping story and if you can put it on the screen with the same intensity, you will have everyone crying in the aisle.
Amy Rae – Sometimes being a warrior means one has to summon her own strength, fashion her own tools, and continue to heighten her sense of awareness. It sounds like Jillian found the warrior inside herself and she continues to show others how to find the warriors inside themselves as well.
Alice Carleton – I would think a University is a perfect place to share your work; we have had Oprah and Presidents visit (Oakland University); you should be next!
Dress for Success Pittsburgh – Jillian, you rocked! We got so much great feedback about you as a person and a presenter. As it is said, “We will see how our experience can benefit others.” Thank you!
Betty Lee – Some people may say she’s a bit blunt and doesn’t pull punches, but there’s no denying that Jillian is a highly respected professional and an inspirational speaker, a woman of compassion, who fights for the underdog, the voiceless, and the powerless.
Steve Jones – Hi Jillian. Wow, what a powerful and inspiring profile. You have overcome such incredible challenges in your life. Kudos to you! All the best with your memoir.
Clorine Jackson – Hi Jillian, you are someone to look up to. I feel you are very motivated and successful. I wish you great things in the future.
Danielle P. Dobbs – Amazing life! You seem to be on top of the world now!
Micki Selvitella – Congratulations, Jillian! Your story is inspiring! Rock on!
Agnes Zenta – Thank you, Jillian. You are a true hero and a fantastic role model.
William Windsor – You are a true inspiration to everyone around the world who thinks that they are worthless as it is clear that you have been through some tough situations and gotten through them to be a successful business woman. I live in the UK, but I have so many things I’d love to talk to you about and would love to get the chance to hear your feedback and advice.
Linda Burns – Kudos to you, “Dr. Jill,” and please keep doing what you are doing to reach out and “affect” those who struggle … and those just looking for someone to connect with.
Bobbi Robinson – HERE I STAND Author, Jillian Bullock – wrote about the city which I am a native, which made her book even more relational. As I was so engrossed in Jillian’s story, I kept forgetting that this was the same person who sat and listened to my fairy tale life without judgment. This book is a perfect example of how life can knock you down but only you can pick yourself up! Thank You Jillian for sharing your story and reminding people that what one goes through is usually meant to save someone else.
Joan Bressler – HERE I STAND, by Jillian Bullock, is truly inspirational. I’ve heard Jillian’s brave story before, but this book caught me unaware and I was plunged into her journey once more. This book gives hope. I’m confident it will resonate with many readers. Brava!
Nat Katz – Jillian Bullock’s HERE I STAND is a very personal story about strength, abuse, dysfunctional families, abandonment, incredible suffering, resilience, survival, and achievement. Told in a straightforward style, the memoir is at times difficult to read because of its rawness, violence and descriptions of emotional and physical abuse and betrayal. In the end, however, the book is about one young woman’s drive to overcome the many obstacles thrown at her early in life, how she developed both emotional self-sufficiency and physical strength to overcome the likelihood of being sucked forever into a life of despair, alcohol, and drugs, and her use of those skills to survive and achieve. A moving story of courage in the face of tremendous adversity.
Skip Boden – HERE I STAND is an incredible and intriguing story from cover to cover. After reading the book and learning the details from that part of Jillian’s life, I found it amazing how she kept her determination to succeed. Even after all the emotional and physical pain and suffering she experienced, which can only be described as a journey to hell and back, she still came out on top. I admire her courage and tenacity in holding on to her dreams and following them to achieve success. It’s truly inspirational!
C. A. Webb “Conversations Book Club” – There’s something to be said about the power of believing in yourself. For Jillian Bullock she has been able to deal with horrible challenges in her life all to move forward and still succeed. Part of her journey is chronicled in her book HERE I STAND. It takes you through not only the lack of love and respect she was shown, but how she was able to make the most of difficult times and difficult decisions.
This is the kind of book that a young woman can read and see that struggles and bad choices don’t have to be the end of what is possible for them. It is also the kind of book that young men can read and say that regardless of what you have planned for me, I don’t have to accept that as the kind of life I can have for myself.
Jillian Bullock uses her experiences not as an excuse, but as motivation for others that can help them not only on their road but give them hope before they make a decision that could change their lives forever.
Renee D. Crews – Wow! HERE I STAND is a very inspiring book!! With all that Jillian went through it’s amazing how she beat the odds. Could hardly put the book down!! Can’t wait for the next one!!
Nikki Daniels – I love reading and have read tons and tons of books in several different genres. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book and couldn’t put it down. Here I Stand kept me up for two nights because I was that intrigued and couldn’t wait to learn more. I am so inspired after reading this book and feel I can now conquer the world and do anything I put my mind to. Thank you Jillian Bullock for sharing your story.
OSC -This book is very inspiring. It should be required reading for troubled teens. She (Jillian) is a living example of overcoming immense adversities and succeeding in life.
Mina – Jillian is an amazing woman. She has been to hell and back. She has enforced what we all know and what to do when we need to do it…..fight…survive and believe in ourselves, so we can achieve the smallest accomplishments and to making our biggest dreams come true. Jillian shows us how being determined, strong and having faith will get us through the darkest times of our lives. God Bless you Jillian and thanks for sharing your story.
Kathy Reinhart, Award Winning Author and Book Reviewer for Inkdrop Interviews
A Personal Note to the author Jillian Bullock
I’ve finished reading your book (HERE I STAND). To be frank, I devoured it. Many of the requests I get for reviews are for memoirs and I have learned that they are usually either very, very good or utterly terrible. (I swear, I am going to invent a new word to describe yours!)
I couldn’t put it down. Your account of your life was real. Raw. Emotional. Unbiased. You were so candid and not just with any particular area of your life, but with all of it, your accomplishments, your fears, your transgressions. I felt as though you took me through it with you.
You are such a strong woman, someone to be admired. Oprah has always been one of my biggest role models. She has overcome a great deal, never falling back on the negatives of her early life or using them as an excuse. I would put you in the same category. To have overcome so much, even more than Oprah. I found myself applauding you, sympathizing with you, and admiring you. To find yourself in the lowest place you’ve been and come out of it the place you are now…a true testament to your character.
HERE I STAND will leave anyone who takes in these pages and stories with hope, strength, courage, a sense of knowing everything will be alright, if you believe it will. Jillian’s story demonstrates the power of the human spirit and that old saying, “Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger,” is truly evident knowing the person Jillian is today!
HERE I STAND is an intimate, captivating saga which details both the intergenerational roots of violence and the determination of a bright, creative young girl as she navigates her journey to adulthood. It transcends the horrors of her past and ultimately she chooses to stand on the ground of love. It is raw. It is compelling. It offers hope to those who feel trapped in misery, and it teaches many important life lessons to the rest of us.
Jillian has taken the events of her life and turned them into stories that read like fiction of the most dramatic order. She has grappled with homelessness, drug addiction, rape, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, domestic violence, and cancer. She reaches down deeply from this difficult past and creates characters who are complex, unusual, inspiring, and flawed. Despite her past, Jillian has been determined to follow her dream of becoming an accomplished screenwriter and filmmaker. Making a name in the film industry is a difficult proposition. It takes extreme dedication, smarts, resourcefulness, phenomenal people skills and luck. Maybe Jillian’s difficult past has built her resolve. Maybe she learned that, if you put your mind to it, anything is possible. Certainly everything has been possible in her life, and today Jillian is an award winning writer and filmmaker. I look forward to being a part of HERE I STAND when the book is released and when the film is produced in Philadelphia.
“Jillian is truly a fighter. Hers is a story of defiance and triumph. She has harnessed her experiences to create the moving story of HERE I STAND. For anyone who’s looking for motivation and inspiration to beat the odds, this is recommended reading.”
Jillian’s story in HERE I STAND is remarkable, not just for her physical strength as a martial artist, but for her sheer mental toughness. Jillian exemplifies an ability that’s unique to the human brain: the ability to willingly transcend one’s circumstances and past experiences, and completely change your course in life. The story of Jillian’s incredible mental toughness in the face of all her adversities will persuade you that, no matter how big you think your problems are, they are not too big to overcome!
I’ve worked with Jillian on a few projects; she is loyal, conscientious, and determined. She is also completely forthcoming about her past, and the journey she has taken. She is driven to succeed in spite of the events of her life, but I have never known her to be bitter about what she has gone through. She is more victor than survivor, vanquishing every obstacle set before her, while remaining true to her core beliefs. I’m looking forward to working with Jillian again when production begins on the film of HERE I STAND.
Jillian is a woman who knows no boundaries. Considering her upbringing and the horrific obstacles she has overcome in her life, she could have fallen through the cracks and decided life wasn’t worth living. Instead, she dug down deep and fought back to succeed against all odds. Today, Jillian is an inspiration to those who feel hopeless and who are living a life in despair. HERE I STAND will be a beacon of light to help millions of people transform their lives no matter what they may be going through and what their journey has been. Healing starts with us…share our stories with one another.
For the past few years I’ve known Jillian I’ve learned a great deal about her internal strength, her strong will to withstand all life experiences; her ability to take the worst situations and turn them around into lessons learned. HERE I STAND is about how Jillian crafted her mind, body and spirit into an incredibly strong model and mentor for other females.I am honored to know someone who has come through such adversity and is not at all bitter, but looks forward to the next hurdle to jump over and learn from – all with a smile. She is a person you definitely will want to get to know.
In HERE I STAND, Jillian shares the most intimate details of her life so that others can learn from her pain and share in her healing. Jillian tells her life story from the heart. She gives a powerful and gripping account of her life experiences and how forgiveness empowered her to face those experiences head-on and transform them into wisdom. Forgiveness is the integral key that unlocks Jillian from the prison of her past. Jillian’s story brings hope to those who have lost hope and freedom to those who are held captive by circumstances.
Dr. Jerry Lazoff, who read HERE I STAND and has counseled Jillian in the past, offers his professional take on why he feels her life story is such an important book for people to read.
Resilience is a frequently discussed topic in the field of psychology. Why is it that some people when faced with huge setbacks, traumatic events, or devastating losses are able to bounce back while others are unable to cope and never seem to recover?
It is believed that resilience develops at a young age and among other factors, is fostered by the child having at least one secure positive adult relationship, as well as positive experiences in school and/or the community. Thus, Jake (Jillian’s stepfather) was instrumental in Jillian being able to develop a sense of resilience. Another key component was her studying martial arts at a young age and finding great success in this endeavor.
As it has been said elsewhere, “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” This is particularly true for resilient people. It is believed that by going through difficult experiences such individuals develop the ability to cope.
Obviously, if Jake had not been a part of Jillian’s life or if she did not find success with martial arts, she would have been less likely to overcome the hardships she endured.
HERE I STAND is a powerful story that can hopefully motivate others to recover from huge disappointments, difficult times, and devastating losses. Jillian was able to overcome multiple hardships and through a strong work ethic, was able to achieve many of her dreams. By reading her book, parents can also learn how to foster a sense of resiliency in their children.
Dr. Jerry M. Lazaroff has been actively involved in the treatment and evaluation of children, adolescents, and adults for over 35 years. He is a licensed psychologist and is a member of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, as well as the American Psychological Association. Dr. Lazaroff has been married for over 40 years to his psychologist-wife, Dr. Beatrice S. Lazaroff. Their offices are located in Media, PA and Villanova, PA.
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