Quoted: the Toronto Star on Jessica Yee

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We already covered this yesterday in links…but we felt it deserved a post of its own. We are very proud to announce that The Toronto Star — aka, ahem, Canada’s largest newspaper — has named Racialicious Special Correspondent Jessica Yee as one of 2010’s People to Watch.

Jessica Yee is a young woman on a mission. And at 23, she is wowing social justice activists twice her age with her passion and persistence. The eldest daughter of a Mohawk mother and a Chinese father, Yee was volunteering for a local women’s shelter when she was 12…By age 20, Yee pulled those experiences together to form the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, the first agency of its kind run by and for youth that isn’t focused solely on disease prevention.

Today the network is a North American force for healthy sexuality and reproductive rights, among other things. And as its founder and executive director, Yee has become a respected international youth leader who organizes UN conference forums on indigenous youth and writes, edits and produces books, videos and theatre about youth sexuality.

“We try to incorporate everything, from environmental justice to violence prevention, that you wouldn’t typically see within a sexual reproductive health mandate,” says Yee. One of Yee’s strengths is her ability to connect the dots, says Judy Rebick, who nominated Yee for the Toronto YWCA’s 2009 Young Woman of Distinction Award (she won).

“She’s got everything: She’s a great organizer, a great speaker. She’s very courageous and determined.”

Yee says her activism is rooted in her parents’ history as sex trade workers. Although they were also caught up in substance abuse and minor brushes with the law, they raised Yee and her younger sister, Jennifer, in a safe, loving environment, teaching them to be open-minded, pro-choice and socially responsible.

“My past is empowering,” Yee says. “It’s not belittling in any way. It shaped who I am.”

Congratulations Jessica! We are thrilled to be associated with you.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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