Talking about activism, Jessica Yee says “We need to continually be learning what we can do better for our next generation, and I take full ownership of my part in making sure that happens.” And at 25, she’s already been doing that for well over a decade.
Yee describes herself as a “multiracial Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter.” At 20, she founded the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) and acts as Executive Director. The NYSHN is the only organization in North America that is run for and by Indigenous youth, and that takes a comprehensive approach to sexual health. With offices in Toronto, Ont., and Oneida, Wisconsin, the NYSHN provides training, advocacy, and program development that promotes youth empowerment, cultural competency, sex positivity, reproductive justice, and healthy sexuality. Projects range from the Grandmother Spirit Project, which aims to end elder abuse, to the development of sex education programs in Aboriginal communities.
In addition to her work with the NYSHN, Yee represents Aboriginal youth on multiple boards and collectives. Her book, Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the academic industrial complex of feminism, was recently released, and she also appears in the CBC documentary, The F Word: Who Wants to be a Feminist?