Jessica is an activist and artist originally from the Bay Area. Jessica felt a strong call-to-action after volunteering for Bernie Sanders' electric campaign. She is determined to win the race for City Council, continuing ‘Our Revolution’ to uphold the four pillars of justice - social, racial, economic and environmental - at the local level, ensuring the basic rights and dignity of all Los Angeles residents.
I grew up in Sunnyvale, CA. Once known as The Valley of Hearts Delight, now known as Silicon Valley.
I started theater camp when I was 9 years old, with California Theater Center.
Also at 9 years of age I was told, while in the "accelerated" math class, to stop asking so many questions.
I felt pretty dumb after that. So I stopped asking questions. Instead I did theater. And I read. And I wrote and I ran for student council. These subjects came with ease and I enjoyed them.
I auditioned for college theatre programs because I didn't have the grades to compete for entrance into a grand university.
I was accepted to study at University of Miami's BFA Theatre conservatory with an Acting track emphasis.
I didn't like Miami. I didn't like studying with the same people. I was confused about who I was and what I was doing. I knew it was very expensive.
I left and completed GE's at De Anza Community College. It was here I learned that I wasn't stupid- I just had to apply myself and then I could do absolutely anything.
Traveling for three months on my own in Europe shaped my confidence and hightened the importance of being a good listener. To understand rather than to be understood.
I graduated from San Jose State University where I found my love and passion for directing and producing theater, which roots itself in bringing brilliant human beings together to work in solidarity on a single, passion project. With Erica Schwehr and Ashley Soria, we founded SPOTLITE Stage Company (Student Productions Operating To Learn & Integrate Theatre Education) to expand opportunities for students to exercise their talents, jaw bone & backbones to become independent, critically thinking, creatively flourishing artists.
After working in the Bay Area for a year as an actor (Marin Shakes, SF Shakes, Berkeley Rep) and teaching artist (SF Shakes, Berkeley Playhouse) I spiraled into an identity crisis- why is theater important? and awoke with the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a commercially viable actor.
Since being in LA, I have hardly pursued acting. I have directed plays, produced arts events, lead a successful Kickstarter to then produce a TV pilot, and was even given the opportunity and trust to critique theatre in LA for the online journal, Stage Raw. I have found a semi-stable job as a children's book publisher. I have learned how to make an apartment feel like a home.
October, 2015 I read Ta-Nehisi Coates Bewteen the World and Me and crumpled. Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist made me question what it means to survive, what is at the root of our current survival tool- money- and once you had that survival tool: what was the point?
And then the point hit me in the form of a combination of Bernie Sanders and Josh Fox's How to Let Go of The World and Love All Things Climate Can't Change.
None of this matters. As my dear friend, Leah, once wrote: We are possibility, yet our time here is humble.
In the wake of Bernie Sanders' courageous campaign, in the wake of the harsh reality that we, as a species, are killing ourselves and there will be a great deal of suffering due to human made climate change (heat waves, droughts, sea refugees due to ocean rise, decimation of crops, polluted air, unsafe drinking water) I found myself awaking once again to the truth that none of this matters and yet- there is so much suffering. And maybe our time is best spent trying to heal and eradicate some of the anguish.
If "survival is insufficient", as is proclaimed on the wagon of the 'Traveling Symphony' in Station 11- what do we do with this life to make it sufficient?
This is where, at 27, I have met my crossroad. The path I am embarking on to make life feel sufficient and substantive is one as a public servant- organizing to help leave behind a better planet for future generations.
My greatest, "activist" passion is to move our society into renewable energy to curb human created climate change. This means re-inventing our energy systems, our transportation means and how we consume goods. This means localizing food production. This means re-imagining what "work" is and if we, in fact, need a faith based currency to still meet our survival needs. I believe we need to re-imagine how we educate our children; we should be activating children's creativity, viewing ourselves as guides and support systems, rather than dictating how they should learn. We must develop a communal conscious in how we raise our boys and girls, how we define masculinity and femininity. We must care for each other on a holistic level with dignity, meeting our basic, human needs of food, shelter, community and health with urgent, compassionate care.
I will always be a storyteller, even if I'm not pursuing it as my survival job. I love stories. They rip open my chest and catch my breath. They make me weep, unabashedly. They make me laugh- out loud and loudly- they bring me joy, frustration, sorrow and transport me into ideas and worlds I would otherwise not explore. They make me feel human. They make me feel connected.
Some favorite stories include: Little Women, A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth, Daughter of Fortune, Harry Potter, Julius Caesar, Melancholy Play, The Importance of Being Earnest, Benny and Joon, Clue, The Sting, The Fall, Pushing Daisies, fairytales, The Fantasticks, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Greek Myths, Antigone, Sunflower Sutra, The Giving Tree.