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The journey to advocacy

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We must reject not only the stereotypes that others have for us, but also those that we have of ourselves.

-Shirley Chisolm

I am a trailblazer. As of April 2020, I was first in my immediate family to attend and graduate from Columbia College of Missouri, where I studied Political Science, Sociology, and Pre-law. Although my childhood struggles aren't written on my face, I can never forget the obstacles I endured being the oldest of six astonishing children. I spent most of my childhood without the presence of my father whom of which was punished for a crime he did not commit, and I've witnessed my mother on numerous occasions struggle to make ends meat and keep food on our table.

As a child, I never really realized what it meant to be underprivileged because my friends and family were always in the same environment, Detroit's inner city, MI.

Interview with the National Institute for Civil Discourse

During my undergrad experience, I lost both of my parents to senseless violence in my hometown of Detroit. I had to mentally and physically recover from two devastating heartbreaks while balancing the stress of college. However, despite the events that transpired throughout my childhood and adolescence, I refused to allow negative stereotypes to impact my future. I felt personally obligated in making education my priority so that my siblings could have a role model to look up to.

 

I was able to balance my studies while serving on numerous student leadership executive boards, including the Black Student Union, the Black Prelaw Student Association, Phi Alpha Delta, and Student Senate, which required extensive commitment. My involvement in these organizations gave my voice the power it needed to speak up against social injustices in my life, including those that occurred on campus. I gained valuable insight into organizational advocacy by attending national conferences such as the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, Public Leadership Education Network, Young People For (YP4).

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My goal is to make the voices of underrepresented communities heard in spaces where others will try to silence them.

I believe the voices of those in underrepresented communities must be heard in order to educate  others and inform those who are unaware of the realities of our everyday experiences. My involvement with many internships, most notably being selected as the Spring 2019 William Hearst Fellow at the Aspen Institute, led me to navigate Washington D.C and Capitol Hill on behalf of the organization and network with prominent leaders.

Guest speaker appearance for the University of Kentucky 

I worked as an Advocacy Intern with the Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights where I assisted in drafting proposal comments and brief memos which required intense research on issues directly impacting the disfranchised communities I aim to advocate for. During summer 2019, I joined the National Institute for Civil Discourse's CommonSenseAmerica (CSA) Initiative, where I did intensive legislation watching specific bills regarding education, and regulatory and affordable housing. As a public speaker, I aim to ensure that young people from diverse perspectives across America would be represented by continuing to cultivate safe spaces to share their experiences.Throughout my experience, my goal is to make the voices of underrepresented communities heard in spaces where others will try to silence them.

-Chiquita Jackson

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My leadership is centered around being community-driven because I work for my community.

My leadership is centered around being community-driven because I work for my community. Over the years, I became more culturally aware of additional underrepresented communities, including cultures from various African countries and my own cultural roots from the Caribbean islands.

After discovering the power that many of my ancestors possessed, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Huey Newton, and Rosa Parks, their heroic actions provided me with the courage to advocate social equity for underrepresented communities through the legislation and judicial system. I demand that Black communities have adequate representation in Congress, state, and local government because we too are citizens. Systematic oppression, police brutality, and institutionalized discrimination has destroyed low-income communities, and I want to make America accessible for all of its citizens, including those in underrepresented communities because our voices matter and deserve to be heard. 

-Chiquita Jackson

2017's Kansas University  Multicultural Student Government Straight Talk “Retention Rates” with Chancellor Girod

I believe that advocating for your community should extend far beyond a job title. My past allowed me to experience the hardships, but it paved the way for me to fight for social liberation in the present, and will allow me to advocate for disenfranchised communities in the future. I refuse to allowed inequality to occur in my presence. I will continue to ensure equity and equality for those in my community and communities beyond. I will fight with integrity, fairness, and individuality.  My leadership is centered around being community-driven because I work for my community.