CYS volunteer mediator Jackie Taylor came early to her calling as an advocate for social justice. Jackie dates her philosophy of social engagement to her high school and college days when she was a member of the Black Student Union movement.
As a politically-active student, she developed the belief that social consciousness and civic participation help define our hopes and bind us as a people. Throughout her life as an activist, a public health professional, and a mother, Jackie has engaged in the struggle for justice and opportunity on behalf of others. Notable efforts include joining a relief mission to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake that devasted the island nation in 2010, and a micro-finance project to fund businesses started by Haitian women. Jackie also joined a peace delegation to Palestine called “Eyewitness Palestine.” Their fact-finding mission focused on the Palestinian point of view to inform a more balanced approach to the tensions in the Middle East.
As former Branch Director with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Jackie focused on promoting and protecting the health and safety of the people of Los Angeles County. Whether she was directing the work of staff in restaurant inspections, drinking water regulation, ocean monitoring, housing and lead abatement, or working on environmental justice issues, Jackie remained a staunch advocate for equitable, sustainable, and environmentally-sound programs and policies.
After her recent retirement, Jackie discovered CYS’s restorative justice mediation programs. In VORS mediations, Jackie helps others to find common cause and repair harmed relationships. Through her personal experience and as a parent raising children of color, she has earned a special appreciation and understanding of what she calls “the social constructs confronting our youth of color.” These insights and perspectives have had a meaningful impact on many CYS youth clients and families.
With her love of people and her talent for bringing out their best, Jackie also volunteers to serve on CYS staff interview committees. In this role, she helps identify and welcome new staff members who share CYS’s vision. When asked what she looks for in a team member, Jackie responded, “A blend of education and experience, sensitivity, and a shared vision of the good works and social change CYS is working toward.”
Thanks to Jackie for her remarkable history of community work, her dedication to CYS, and for putting into just a few words what moves and inspires us all!