Jessica Byrd, 28, Washington DC
Founder, Three Point Strategies
Jessica Byrd firmly believes that Black people have and will always be a dope and resilient force. It is part of the reason she is committed to merging racial justice with electoral politics via her company, Three Point Strategies, which trains diverse candidates to move into activism and political office. It's a cause close to her heart now that the nation is soon to become majority minority.
"I have found one small way to contribute by working to get more Black women elected to office so that public policy meets the needs of our lives," she told NBCBLK. "It is an honor to build power for Black people, even in small ways."
A former Manager of State Strategies for Emily's List, Jessica got her first taste of organizing while a student at Pennsylvania's Chatham College for Women. Someone, unhappy with her efforts to organize a discussion about the blackface party at Carnegie Mellon University, sent her a hate-filled, racist letter.
"It was a defining moment in my life as an organizer," she said, adding that after taking a year off, she worked on then-Senator Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Of that experience, she says: "Dancing at Obama's inauguration was the sweetest aftermath."
WHAT DOES BLACK EXCELLENCE MEAN TO YOU?
It is the simple magic of waking up, taking up space, building community and dreaming in a world that proves over and over again that it wasn't built for you to thrive.
DEFINE YOUR WORK IN THREE HASHTAGS: #womenofcolorcandidates #ohioan #blacklivesmatter
LATE NIGHTS OR EARLY MORNINGS? Definitely early mornings.
FAVORITE SONG TO PLAY AT FULL VOLUME Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money"
MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT I LOVE/HATE I love musicals but I hate when people call me Jess.
WHAT DO YOU READ DAILY? I read The Washington Post, For Harriet, Chani Nicholas horoscopes, and whatever Black woman author is on my nightstand.