HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Mother, wife, businesswoman and voter’s rights advocate — Jessica Barker is not only a rockstar to her four children, but inspires others in the community through her work with multiple organizations.
“She has a passion, and the passion shows every day… Now I’m very involved in the community because of her,” Jessica’s mother, April, wrote in her nomination letter for Remarkable Women.
News 19’s Remarkable Women campaign spotlights women in the Tennessee Valley who are doing extraordinary things for their family and their community. We received more nominations than ever before from viewers across the Tennessee Valley and we’re able to narrow it down to four women. Jessica is our first honoree.
Jessica is the co-founder and lead organizer of Lift Our Vote, CEO and Principal Strategist for Fluid Business Consulting, and the President of the Alabama Association for the Arts.
Her work in politics began after an incident at her daughter’s school, “In 2018, my daughter encountered a racially insensitive situation at her school, and being a mama bear, I just knew I had to do something,” Jessica told News 19’s Chief Meteorologist Danielle Dozier.
Jessica ran for a seat on the State Board of Education, and while she did not win, that didn’t stop her drive for change.
“Running for that office led me to realize that marginalized communities often are not engaged in the political process. I had to continue working in my community to make sure that the underserved were as connected as possible,” Jessica said.
And that is how Lift Our Vote was born. Lift Our Vote is a non-partisan voter advocacy campaign that serves to create a culture of voting in marginalized communities through civic education, engagement and empowerment, according to the organization’s website.
As if Jessica wasn’t already juggling enough at the time, she had a big health scare. Jessica said she had been struggling with migraines, and thought it may have stemmed from stress surrounding the campaign. “After going to the doctor, we realized I actually had a tumor that was growing on my cranium,” Jessica said.
Not long after, Jessica would be under the knife for an open craniotomy surgery. It was urgent due to the rapid growth, Jessica says, “Boy, that was a life-changing journey.”
She says that experience showed her a sense of community – family, friends and colleagues rallied behind her during her time of need. “The community fed my family literally for weeks,” Jessica said. She also says that experience showed her how every day truly matters.
“I truly feel that every day you’re given an opportunity to wake up. It’s an opportunity to seize the day and make the most of it.”Jessica Barker
And that she does… Jessica is motivated to make a difference across the Tennessee Valley and credits her motivation to her four children. Jessica gleamed, “I have the opportunity to create not just a legacy for my family, but a community legacy to be able to leave for generations to come.”
When asked how she balances it all? Jessica says she truly believes there is never balance, “It’s just really about monitoring and prioritizing where you’re needed because as women, we’re always needed somewhere.”
News 19’s Remarkable Women campaign will continue throughout the month of March. You can catch each segment on Wednesdays on News 19 at 5 p.m., News 19 at 9 p.m., and re-aired Saturday mornings on News 19 This Morning.