Ashley Jackson talks veganism, dietary justice, and rising up with Rev. Jesse Jackson

Meet Ashley Jackson, vegan activist, actress, producer and daughter of American political activists Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Dr. Karen Stanford. Jackson is a graduate pupil on the College of Southern California the place she is finding out Movie Manufacturing. We spoke with Jackson to be taught extra about her upbringing, her new vegan way of life, energetic work, and profession plans. Proceed studying to be taught extra.

Ashley Jackson Photograph by Kelsey Hill

Veg Out (VO): What was it like rising up with two political icons as mother and father? How has your schooling been like to this point?

Ashley Jackson (AJ): Because the daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Dr. Karen Stanford, politics formed my life from an early age. I’ve a deep appreciation for my father’s world impression as an African American presidential candidate and civil rights chief who impressed tens of millions. My father taught me that one’s legacy isn’t just particular person however collective. My mom additionally had a formative affect by way of her work as a instructor in shaping younger minds. Each my mother and father place nice worth on schooling and instilled in me a love of studying. As somebody who has two distinctive people as mother and father, my academic journey has been extremely enriched by their ideas and worldviews. I worth education as a privilege whereas realizing that tens of millions of ladies all over the world don’t get the identical. I try to observe of their footsteps whereas additionally forging my very own path ahead.

voice: You have already got a formidable activist profession! What organizations and/or subjects are you most captivated with?

AJ: In highschool, studying about native intercourse trafficking led me to prepare fundraisers for survivors. I’m now collaborating with the Nationwide Middle on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) to advertise public insurance policies towards exploitation. Lately, she headed NCOSE’s “Lend My Voice” social media marketing campaign, in partnership with influencers, celebrities, and survivors. It highlights the intense penalties of utterly decriminalizing the intercourse commerce and advocates partial, survivor-centered decriminalization. Plus, my ardour for veganism led me to companion with PETA on their Meals Justice Initiative. I strongly assist PETA’s efforts to redirect meat and dairy subsidies towards rising contemporary, wholesome, humane plant-based choices in meals deserts. Working with organizations like NCOSE and PETA, I intention to create optimistic change and transfer nearer to a simply society.

voice: When did you first grow to be a vegetarian and why?

AJ: I’ve been raised vegan since delivery. Nonetheless, I wasn’t totally changing to veganism till lately. In the course of the pandemic, I fell unwell with COVID-19 and different persistent ailments, which required me to get rid of dairy and gluten from my food regimen. Actually, going vegan feels identical to going pure. However private causes apart, my option to grow to be a vegetarian stems from concern about the way forward for our planet. As a member of Era Z, I’m deeply involved concerning the environmental impression of animal farming, particularly deforestation and habitat destruction. A vegan way of life requires a lot much less land and assets, making it extra sustainable in a world dealing with local weather change. I additionally query the moral value of mass manufacturing practices that hurt animals and staff. By turning into a vegan, I intention to reduce my private contribution to those systemic points. Whereas I began my journey for well being causes, educating me concerning the broader implications ensured that veganism aligns with my values ​​round environmentalism and social justice. As a vegan, I hope to do my little half in making a extra moral and compassionate meals system.

voice: How has turning into a vegetarian affected your life?

AJ: As a brand new vegan, I nonetheless make changes to totally match my way of life past compassionate consuming. However even in my quick time, going vegan has positively modified my life in main methods. Most significantly, chopping out dairy and animal merchandise has alleviated a few of my well being challenges. Apart from private well-being, turning into vegan has given me the enjoyment of figuring out that I’m contributing positively to animal welfare, the planet, and moral meals methods. In fact, having fun with scrumptious vegan meals can be an added bonus! Going vegan was top-of-the-line choices I made to enhance my life and the world round me.

voice: Is there something you are feeling is lacking from the vegan scene, by way of meals or exercise?

AJ: As somebody new to veganism, I would prefer to see extra vegan and gluten-free choices, too (I actually miss banana pudding!). However most significantly, I consider the vegan group ought to enhance its concentrate on meals justice points. My collaboration with PETA grew out of the assumption that selling vegetarianism ought to go hand in hand with combating systemic inequality. I am enthusiastic about PETA’s work to reshape assist and incentives to enhance entry for vegans in marginalized areas. Too typically, vegetarianism is seen as an opulent way of life when it ought to be a practical possibility for everybody. Transferring ahead, it’s my hope that our fellow vegans will handle the obstacles that make vegan consuming troublesome for deprived teams. We should be having uncomfortable conversations about privilege within the vegan motion. My hope is that by linking veganism with social justice, we are able to create a extra inclusive and moral meals system for everybody.

voice: Why is intersectionality so essential to the vegan motion?

AJ: Intersectionality, as outlined by Kimberle Crenshaw, acknowledges how types of oppression comparable to racism and classism intertwine and overlap, affecting individuals in complicated methods. On this framework, meals justice is social justice. At its core, it is a matter of entry and equity. Marginalized teams have suffered for generations with out satisfactory assets for wholesome meals selections. By becoming a member of forces with social justice actions and incorporating a multi-pronged method, the vegan motion can broaden its attain and meaningfully embody disenfranchised voices. Embracing inclusivity and intersectionality is crucial to ethically altering our unfair meals system.

voice: What’s a plant local weather like USC? What are your favourite vegetarian eating places in that space?

AJ: As an incoming graduate pupil, I turned conscious of the vegan eating choices firsthand round USC. However as a local Los Angeles native, Monty’s Good Burger and Plant Energy Quick Meals have grow to be my staples for fast vegan consolation meals and I really like consuming at Crossroads Kitchen. I additionally get pleasure from ordering the Kale and White Bean & Cucumber Avocado Salad from Erewhon. I lately discovered that a few of my favourite Ethiopian eating places have gluten-free injera! Since I have been a vegetarian my entire life, I’ve discovered to adapt to vegan menu gadgets in all types of eating places. As soon as faculty begins, I look ahead to discovering extra of Los Angeles’ wonderful vegan delicacies (and attempting Kevin Hart’s restaurant, Hart Home!). My expertise at USC will certainly embody a whole lot of culinary adventures!

voice: You’re additionally within the leisure business with plans to jot down and produce initiatives of your personal. What messages do you need to ship to the world by way of leisure?

AJ: As an actress, screenwriter, and producer, I intention to create artwork that faithfully displays my lived experiences. By means of my collective analysis on African American narratives in movie and tv, I’ve discovered how correct illustration stays an uphill battle for individuals like me. I search to be a cinematic power towards the prejudices that silence various voices. My writing stems from my identification, my household’s activism, and the historical past I discovered out and in of the classroom. I need to carry neglected tales to readability and spark thought-provoking dialogues. I am additionally dedicated to portraying characters who break stereotypes and supply empowering illustration on display screen. My purpose as an leisure business skilled is to provide portraits that resonate with underserved audiences. I understand how empowering to lastly see your self on display screen. I need my paintings to carry this reward to others.

For extra data, go to To maintain up with Ashley Jackson’s endeavors, observe her on Instagram and TikTok.

Leave a Comment