Jessica describes herself as a “multiracial indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive-justice freedom fighter.” In addition to writing for places such as Racialicious, she’s edited two books, the most recent of which is Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic-Industrial Complex of Feminism.
She’s also an advocate for indigenous sexual health, reproductive justice and self-determination, and the founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. “It was my sister, my best friend and me who started the network, because we really wanted an organization in which we could see ourselves represented,” she says. “It’s grown from this very grassroots-type thing that was run out of my basement into this international organization.”
That organization is currently working to promote healthy sexuality, including an event at which Aboriginal men spoke out against violence toward women; and the Aboriginal Sex Workers Education Outreach Project, run by and for Aboriginal sex workers, aimed at helping them work safely.
Jessica is a sharp critic of outdated or oppressive forms of activism. “I feel like a lot of [activism] comes from a very well-intentioned place, but it’s a lot of talk about ‘let’s save these people, let’s get involved in their lives,’ without really thinking about what that means,” she says. Her activism focuses on programs run by and for the people they’re intended to help. “Everyone has the right to decide whether they’re an activist or not. Even looking in the mirror every day, and deciding that you like what you see, is an activist choice.”