Activist and organizer Jeneisha Harris is no stranger to being a leader in her community. During her time at the Equity Alliance, the founders of the organization recommended that she apply to the IGNITE Fellowship. Seeing it as a chance to develop her leadership skills and work with other young women, Jeneisha applied and became the first Nashville Fellow. The position quickly developed into a Tennessee Fellowship, as she mobilized women from across the state. “I was especially motivated by the lack of political engagement I saw in those cities and I wanted to be part of the process to help others get involved,” she shares.
Her political journey started years ago, after her mentor introduced her to the political realm. She completed internships with elected officials, including several state representatives. Jeneisha has even co-founded her own nonprofit organization called the National Black Action Committee, which was created to support black progression through community engagement.
When it comes to activism, Jeneisha says she didn’t choose to be an activist, activism chose her. She is passionate about engaging and organizing people in her community, and wants to encourage others to do the same. “Activism has chosen many people who may not be confident about becoming activists, but I want to help them find that confidence in themselves to take that leap.”
Through the IGNITE Fellowship, Jeneisha has organized young women in her community by hosting college councils and virtual legislative advocacy events, and even brought several Tennessee women to Young Women Run Atlanta earlier this year.
“I want to mobilize others by making politics more accessible and relatable for young people.”
She shares that being an IGNITE Fellow has helped her develop her professional and personal skills, and she has learned how to become an even better leader for her community. What she didn’t expect to find in the Fellowship was the sisterhood that would support her through some of the hardest moments in her life.
Though being an activist is part of who she is, she is especially passionate about her combined interests in biology, psychology and policy. As for the future, Jeneisha hopes to attend graduate school or medical school so she can make a difference in the lives of many. “I want to be part of the process to change the policies that disenfranchise people in getting the proper care they need.”
Jeneisha urges other young women to apply to become an IGNITE Fellow. “I would encourage people to not overthink it. If taking this step can help you reach your end goal, then take the step.”
Interested in becoming an IGNITE Fellow? Learn more here.