Jessica Danforth

 

Jessica Danforth

Jessica Danforth is a self-described "multiracial Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter!" A proud Two Spirit youth, she is the founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, the first and only organization of its kind in by and for Indigenous youth working within the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health throughout the United States and Canada. She has spent more than half her life mobilizing individuals, families, and communities alike to reclaim their ancestral rights to self-determine decisions over their own bodies and spaces.

Jessica is currently serving as the first Chair of the National Indigenous HIV/AIDS Youth Council, as well the International Indigenous HIV/AIDS Working Group, and she is the North American co-chair for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In addition, she is a member of a number of national and international boards and collectives including SisterSong Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Collective, Women on Web/Women on Waves, and Maggie's: Sex Workers Organizing.

She is a strong believer in the power of youth voice and agency, and you can see her writing on sites like Racialicious, or watch her monologues about activism and justice on TV Ontario. She is the editor of two books; "Sex Ed and Youth: Colonization, Communities of Colour, and Sexuality" and "Feminism For Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism." She is also currently writing sexual health articles for Indian Country Today.

Jessica has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work including being the recipient of the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction award, a National Aboriginal Role Model for the National Aboriginal Health Organization, named one of 20 International Women's Health Heroes by Our Bodies/Our Blog, the recipient of the national Harmony Movement award for her work in anti-oppression and equity, and was recently awarded the Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneur Award for her founding of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. She was the 10th anniversary "Distinguished Visitor" to Women's Studies at the University of Windsor and the youngest person to be appointed this role. She is also the recipient of the National Youth Advocacy award from the Assembly of First Nations - National Indigenous Youth Council.