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Q&A with Reproductive Justice Ambassador: Tessie J.

Tell me about yourself. Where were you born? How long did you live in Las Vegas? Hobbies. Family life. Work. Other passions.

I was born in Columbus, Ohio where I lived until I moved to Vegas in 2016. I moved to Vegas because my mom was there and I needed a change. Being in Ohio was stressing me and starting to take a toll on my health.

I love reading, writing and taking pictures and being outside in nature.

I am the mother of three wonderful sons who teach me something new everyday.

I am back working as an auditor and I absolutely love it. I love auditing because not only do I get to meet new people and teach them new things every day, but I get to learn about different people and cultures and all kinds of other things.

My other passions include feeding people I love and helping people in need. I also like to volunteer when I can.

How did you first hear about Make It Work Nevada?

I heard about Make It Work Nevada through a moms group. I visited the Facebook page and either registered to attend one of the events or filled out a questionnaire. Then, someone called me and offered me some information. I just loved how they reached out to help make sure I had the access I needed.

One of our primary goals at Make It Work Nevada is to move people to power. In what area of your life do you feel most powerful? What makes you feel that way? In what areas would you like to build more power?

The area of my life that I feel most powerful is in my personal relationships. I have decided to change "cannots" to "will nots." Just changing those words makes me feel so much more powerful.

I would like to build more power professionally. I want the ability to network on a business level.

You are going to be hosting our reproductive justice conversation, "My Body, My Authority" for the next 3 months. What made you want to do this?

Sometimes people will “volun-tell” you to do something and it will just make your heart happy. That is what happened here. I was offered the opportunity to lead a conversation that has helped me.

For me, this conversation has taught me about many of the things that were not on my mind at all. So it makes me smile when other people also take something from it. At the end of each of these conversations I believe people will absolutely gain some insight. It may be something that will help them today or maybe next year.

I wanted to do this because I really believe that every little bit of hope that is found builds into something more amazing, which then spreads little bits of leftover joy and happiness that will pop up when you least expect it and save the day.

What do you want people to take away from the My Body My Authority conversation?

I want people to take away strength, joy and community and the knowledge that you can create any of these with words shared from and shared with strangers.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about attending "My Body My Authority" but is unsure?

For just an hour of your time you are going to learn something. You may not be able to apply it anytime soon but one day you will be sitting somewhere and something you heard will pop into your head and you will be glad you came.

Any final thoughts you'd like to share.

Something I tell myself often is "Be the sunshine you seek." I started saying this because I was having a really hard time being content with life; not happy or joyful but just being okay with my life, internally. So now I remind myself to be my own sunshine and shine on those that help me help myself. That in turn, helps me help others. Consistently giving out tiny acts of kindness will be a consistent source of sunshine to the giver.

My Body My Authority is our monthly reproductive justice conversation where BIPOC women meet to talk about embracing their bodies and advocating for their health and reproductive rights. The conversation takes place via live chat inside the Make It Work Nevada "Powerbuilders" private Facebook group.

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