The Road Map Project Community Leadership Team provides visionary leadership and community accountability in guiding the Road Map Project to ensure the work is community led and conducted through a racial equity lens. Learn more about each of the members through this series.

Jessica Velasquez is a proud community member from SeaTac. Jessica’s passion for college and career readiness and equity in education led her to work with young people and opportunity youth in the Road Map Project region. Jessica is a first-generation college student who earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington Bothell where she double majored in society, ethics, and human behavior and American and ethnic Studies, with a double minor in education and society and diversity studies. After graduating, Jessica continued her education by receiving her Master’s degree from the Student Development Administration program at Seattle University.

1. In one sentence, how would you sum up your day-to-day work?
Providing job readiness training to young people/opportunity youth between the ages of 16-24 in South King County.

2. What do you want people to know about the community or communities you are part of?
Those in my community carry cultural wealth.

3. Tell us about a time when an educator or educational experience made a big impact on you.
My educational experience is having professors of color at the University of Washington Bothell. As a result, I received support from professors who understood imposter syndrome, internalized racism, code-switching, and other forms of oppression that many students like myself experience while in higher education. Ultimately, I graduated college as a first-generation, low-income daughter of immigrants because of the classroom representation.

4. Tell us about one social justice advocate who has influenced the work you do/the causes you champion?
Gloria Anzaldúa through her power of storytelling. Gloria provided a counter-narrative that made me aware of the importance/impact of centering intersectionality.

5. If you can make one immediate change to the education system, what would it be?
Providing equitable access to college and career resources/services.

6. What excites you about being part of the CLT?
Engaging with community members who are committed to making a difference in the field of education.

7. Finish this sentence: To me, anti-racism means…
Actively fighting against systemic, structural, and institutional racism to gain liberation, empowerment, equitable access to opportunities, and most importantly, healing individually and collectively.

8. What was the last thing you read, watched, or listened to? Would you recommend it?
I’m a bookworm, so I finished Manifest Now By Idil Ahmed and Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King around the same time. I recommend both books.

9. Where is your favorite place to go in the Road Map Project region (South Seattle and South King County)?
Visiting any King County Library.

10. What is one of your most cherished family traditions?
Celebrating every special moment, holiday, or birthday.

11. What inspires you?
Witnessing my family, friends, and community breaking generational curses.

Posted in: Community Leadership Team

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