Jessica Smith, a student at University of Wisconsin-Superior, is a devoted to addressing the cases of murdered and missing Indigenous people in the United States. Jessica has interned and works as a research assistant with the Sovereign Bodies Institute. She advocates for victims and survivors by participating in a National webinar series, a National podcast series on issues of violence and human trafficking in Indian Country and has provided peer support to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit movement leaders who are survivors. As the cases of murdered and missing Indigenous people reaches a crisis level in the U.S., Jessica will continue to increase public awareness and advocate for victims of trafficking and violence.
I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, focusing on Legal Studies and First Nations Studies. A family member told me I would never be anything more than a statistic, and for years I believed them. I was 1 in 3 Native women who have been raped, rates of violence are 10 times higher against me than the national average, and I'm a survivor of human trafficking. I overcame everything that tried to destroy me. I turned my pain into power to excel in everything I do because I'm determined to make a difference. At UW-Superior, I am a representative for Criminal Justice Legal Studies Program advisory board and a member of Native Nations Student Organization. I am a member of the Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI) Survivor Leadership Council, SBI research assistant, and McNair Scholar. I speak nationally on issues that plague Indigenous communities and advocate for Two-Spirit sacredness. I am a volunteer legal advocate for families who have lost their loved ones to murder. I am dedicated to holding the justice system accountable, and to ensure Native people are equally represented and protected. I am a healer, protector, and dedicated to advocacy and my passion for systemic change.