Biography of Jamal Clay
“Jamal was, in no understatement, just a really outstanding kid!” says his mother.
Born September 30, 2000 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jamal came to Chicago, where his grandmother lived, with his mother and sister when he was 2 years old. Raised in south suburban Cook County, Illinois he grew up among an adoring supportive family, close friends and a community that knew him to be a kid who “just got things done”, said his mentor Lady Johnetta Miller.
Jamal loved Legos and reading (particularly comic books). He was a lifeguard for Lifetime Fitness, a popular golf caddy at Flossmoor Country Club and was passionate about music. He
used his creative talent in making hip hop music, played in a local band and performed at local venues including McDonalds “open mic” night.
A dedicated student, Jamal served as a member of Top Teens of America South Suburban Chicago Chapter from 2013 -2019, where he was recognized as chaplain, vice president, President and voted 2017 Mister Top Teen of America for the Midwest region. Jamal was known by many for “getting things done,”.
Jamal graduated Marian Catholic High School in
2019. He contributed to the community and volunteered regularly for the March of Dimes, south suburban food pantry and received the Jefferson Award for Public services for 4
consecutive years for his volunteerism on MLK’s Day of Service.
However, it wasn’t always easy for Jamal. “In Sixth grade was when we notice- something was going on,” says his mother. “He was bullied very badly by students and never talked much
about it…he never let us know what was going on. We would just notice there was this quietness.”
When the covid pandemic hit, Jamal was forced to pause his education after just finishing his first semester of college. During his wait to return to school, he secured a job at Amazon.
The bullying also returned, but this time, “he experienced countless racial profiling at the hands of police who would stop him more than often for small things such as an air freshener hanging from the mirror.”
Although always known as rather quiet, two days after the murder of George Floyd, Jamal became even more reserved and expressed a lack of hope for his own future.
On May 27, 2020 at 5:55am, Jamal Clay ended his life by suicide.