JAN 2021 | JESSICA MITCHELL
Jessica (she/her) is the newest member of APIENC’s Core Committee and has been a member of the Dragon Fruit Network since the summer of 2019.
Jessica and her older sister, Nicole, heard about a group of people doing intergenerational queer & trans API work at a friend’s graduation/birthday party and thought it sounded really cool. Little did they know they were learning about APIENC and DFN (the Dragon Fruit Network) for the first time! They decided to attend their first DFN gathering. While they were driving there, Jessica remembers thinking, “What are we going to?!”
Jessica, who identifies as a cis Asian American woman, first became interested in forming intergenerational connections when a coworker/friend asked her, “Do you value having other people not your age in your life?” Jessica hadn’t ever really thought about it, but moving out to California from Illinois and not having any relationships with elders, especially queer and trans API elders, Jessica wanted to open herself up to more opportunities where should could engage in and form relationships with elders. She thought it was fate that soon after, she learned about DFN.
She didn’t realize what she was missing until she attended her first DFN gathering at Jasmin’s house back in 2019. She remembers feeling very welcome because of Steve Lew’s kind and inviting presence. She left feeling really full and inspired to learn and practice intergenerational mutual care. Jessica and Nicole, having been close siblings before, grew even closer after joining the DFN committee together, as they had never been in an organizing space together.
Jessica is passionate about centering the many legacies of queer and trans API people who have deeply rooted experiences fighting isolation and creating communities of care. Having an interest in community organizing and empowerment work, she also recently joined APIENC’s Core Committee in order to develop her skills and contribute to the directions and priorities of APIENC.
Outside of APIENC, Jessica is busy doing job training work with GRID Alternatives, a low-income solar installation non-profit as part of an Americorp program. She also sometimes attends gatherings organized by an informal mixed race group called the “Rad Mixed Race Group.”
When asked what the future holds for QTAPI people, Jessica sees happiness, interconnectedness, and liberation.
“Everyone deserves to have a beautiful strong community where you can voice your needs and be held. I think that elders have a lot to share and teach us, and there’s a lot that we can learn from those relationships.”
A fun fact about Jessica: both of her thumbs are really bendy! She can bend them 90 degrees!