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Who is Tèanna Gabriell



I am a 25-year-old woman from Newark NJ. I studied at Montclair State University, where I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence, Law, and Society. I currently serve my community as an Elementary School Teacher in my hometown. I am currently building a community ‘Dear Little Me’ — which is a support group, where black and brown women/men of all ages can connect while they are healing their inner child.


While I’ve accomplished a lot and to others I am a success, I truly do not FEEL that way. I’ve always had various passions and talents. I’ve always been a hard worker and willing to achieve whatever I put my mind to. However, I have always been afraid of failure.


I was born to two teenage Jamaican immigrant parents. My single mother and I moved to the West Ward of Newark when I was five years old because it was the neighborhood she could afford (Hoodaville to be exact). I always say "I grew up with my parents" because I truly did. Unfortunately but fortunately, I had a front-row seat to my parent's adversities — domestic violence, depression, crime, homelessness, etc.


In her best effort to protect me from the pain she endured, my mother made it clear to me that she wanted me to be free to follow my dreams. She strictly enforced rules that she believed would shield me from poor decision-making. She would bluntly tell me “You don’t need to lay with any of these little boys or be outside late and be fresh!”. She supported every passion and creative endeavor I embarked on throughout my childhood. She poured into my gifts the way she wished someone poured into her; affirming me that I’ll be successful at whatever I put my mind to.


Nonetheless, during that time I idolized my father. His opinion meant a lot to me and when I was met with failure I would think about what he told me. My father never discouraged me from dreaming but he stressed the importance of me being practical and realistic. He always reminded me of the importance of a Plan B. So, when I auditioned for the ‘VOICE’ my freshman year of high school and didn’t make the cut … I made up my mind before I even got home. At that moment, I thought the rejection I felt was my sign to give up on my dreams and focus on a practical Plan B. That day a part of me decided that I was no longer going to pursue my dreams actively, I would just treat them as the hobby I prayed would come to fruition magically.


I quickly decided I would pursue a career in Law. I did everything in my power to get accepted into an EOF program at a NJ university to afford school. I went to Montclair State University and excelled in ways I never thought I would. I graduated with a 3.5 Cumulative GPA and a host of experience serving my community. I spent those four years preparing myself for law school.


Gratefully, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I was quarantined in my dorm apartment. That time alone helped me identify why I felt so unfulfilled in my accomplishments that far. I spent the majority of my life trying to beat the odds of teenage pregnancy and poverty; I’ve never allowed ALL of who I am to exist at once.


As I am evolving and growing, I’ve realized that the vision God has given me for my life requires me to be my authentic self. It’s time for me to fully embrace Tèanna - the dancer, public speaker, teacher, life coach, community builder, and writer to say the least. In this season of my life, I am no longer interested in conforming to one label. I affirm that I am every single thing God has called me to be.


I understand now that I was never fulfilled because I was doing more planning than living. I was constantly planning my next accomplishment rather than presently enjoying my life.


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