Jessica Daniels is an educator and activist for families impacted by incarceration. After spending time teaching Kindergarten in a California, Bay Area public school, Jessica moved to New York City to earn her Masters in Family and Community Education at Teachers College. Jessica and Isaac met at an event held by Columbia Law School entitled Education is Transformation, which is a symposium regarding the intersection of incarceration and education. Forming an immediate friendship, Jessica has been involved in supporting the evolution of The Confined Arts and Love Thyself First.
As an intern at the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, Jessica is involved in qualitative research with 5 organizations (Future Now, College and Community Fellowship, College Initiative, the Doe Fund and the Osborne Association) to help create multigenerational approaches to educational opportunities and services for families, many of whom have been impacted by the justice system. Recognizing the systemic barriers for the individuals and families who have been impacted by the justice system, Jessica is passionate about the work of Opportunities for Change as it not only supports the artistic endeavors of those previously and currently incarcerated, as well as promotes the health, growth and well being of the family members across generations who have been effected directly or indirectly by the ramifications of confinement.
Beyond her involvement with Opportunities and Change, Jessica also volunteers with Artistic Noise, an organization that creates artistic spaces in prisons for young people who are currently incarcerated, as well as supports individuals reentering the community. With Artistic Noise positioning the young people to give and connect back with the community, Jessica has helped organize and support participants in putting on monthly, free art workshops for 5-10 year old children in Harlem, instructed by the young people of the organization. Jessica is passionate about the power of art to cross structural barriers and engage individuals across generations in conversations regarding mass incarceration and its effect on individuals and families in the United States.