By Michelle Paszek
Kellenberg Memorial High School
Jada Yahda Jackson’s writing adventure started young.
The 17-year-old Georgia native, who moved to the Queensbridge Houses development in Queens at age two and is now a rising senior at the High School for Community Leadership in Jamaica, Queens, discovered a gift for writing in elementary school. They wrote a paragraph recap whenever they went to see a film, which their stepmother read. This was what first got them into writing.
“Writing has always been therapeutic for me,” Jada said.
While Jada continued to write, it wasn’t until recently that they went public with their work.
Jada’s mother, Tywanda Taylor, recounted that “recently, they wrote about their feelings and fears. They use their writing to express themself, as well as their style.” These are mainly for Jada only. However, they posted their feelings about Juneteenth on Medium.
They recently started the column “Jada’s Corner” on their school website, in which they write about COVID-19 and its impact. They also post work on Medium and Instagram and take part in the New York Rat Pack Podcast to give their viewpoint on current events.
“They’ve always asked questions and paid attention to the news,” Taylor noted. “They have a lot of opinions about what’s going on in the world. If something happens in the world they write and tell me about it.”
Their first work, posted to Instagram in May 2020, was on the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19.
“It felt scary at first,” Jada said. “Even in school assignments, I tend to get very personal. Yet when people read it and reposted it, I felt over the moon.”
Jada wishes to pursue a career as a political journalist and activist. In addition, they would like to be a freelance travel writer.
Their biggest journalism inspiration is Angela Davis, the writer and activist. “I want to write so the people most affected can understand and help create change,” Jada said. “I believe that journalism should be about getting the truth out and being accessible to everyone.”
In their free time, they listen to music, watch horror and Marvel films, and practice perfecting their goth makeup and roller skate. “It helps me feel free and nothing can touch me while I’m in a roller rink,” Jada explained. They also spend their weekends going to protests and marches.
Jada took the opportunity to attend the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists “because I wanted to truly pursue journalism before I go into college. I want to major in journalism. I feel like if I truly want to do something, why wait? And I saw this opportunity to prove to myself that I’m serious about doing this for a living. I truly look forward to the program and put my skills to the test. While in this program, I hope to meet people that have similar interests to mine and learn what being a journalist will truly be like.”