Chiquita Jackson has always been an advocate for her community, and wanted to find ways to become even more involved. As she was researching political fellowships, she stumbled across IGNITE and decided to attend the National Young Women Run conference last year. While there, she learned that the IGNITE Fellowship was coming to her city, and knew that this was her chance to seize the opportunity.
“I knew that I wanted to be politically engaged and inspire other young leaders to tap into their potential and make a difference for their communities,” shares Chiquita. Prior to becoming the Detroit Fellow, Chiquita interned for two state legislators. She is motivated to help educate other young people understand their rights through legislation on the local, state, and federal levels.
As she reflects on her Fellowship experience, she shares that one of the many things she appreciated during her time as a Fellow was the level of personal growth. “Throughout this experience, I was given the space to be vulnerable, and felt safe amongst my IGNITE family to do so.” To Chiquita, the connections she has made with other Fellows over the past year are some of the most authentic connections she has ever made.
Chiquita is also grateful for the opportunities she has had while being a Fellow. At Net Impact 2019, she was a guest panelist alongside a Michigan State Representative, and happened to be the youngest panelist there. She even recently found a mentor through a virtual Fellows event, a mentor she knows will support her when she reaches her goal of becoming a U.S Supreme Court Justice.
As an activist and leader, Chiquita is often on the frontlines when it comes to issues that affect her community, a role she says isn’t always easy. In those moments where things are especially difficult, Chiquita always found support within her IGNITE family. “During the Fellows training, we all wrote notes of appreciation for each Fellow. Sometimes, I still look through those notes and that gives me the courage, motivation and determination to continue my work.”
In the future, Chiquita hopes to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a judge. At the age of 11, she told herself that she would become her generation’s Thurgood Marshall. She wants to be a voice for those who feel voiceless, and cherishes the role the Fellowship has played in being that voice while finding her own. “I learned how to be Chiquita Jackson. Before IGNITE, I knew I was Chiquita Jackson, but I didn’t know the power that I had. IGNITE was my vocal support system.”
Chiquita encourages any person thinking of applying to the Fellowship to press the apply button. “Don’t cheat yourself out of your opportunities. You have the ability and the power to make a difference for your community and the world. “You are the difference that you want to see, go for it, you got it.”
Interested in becoming an IGNITE Fellow? Learn more here.