We had the good fortune of connecting with Jasmine Banks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jasmine, what principle do you value most?
I have a set of core values that truly drive my decisions and center my thoughts. These core values are community, honesty, growth, and humor. With any thing or person that I engage with, I reflect on how I lead with these values and when for any reason these values are compromised. I would say the value that matters to me the most is community. This value applies to my personal and professional life. For instance, I have a pretty small biological family. I am the only child, all of my grandparents have passed and my extended family is quite small. Since I was a young child, I built bonds with people that developed into a mighty, yet thriving village for myself and truly showed me the power of collective support and action. To this day, I am extremely grateful for the people in my life and take great pride in evolving our love, communication, and support of one another. In a professional setting, I seek and embrace opportunities that enable me to serve my community; in particular BIPOC. I chose education as the means to which I can create positive change for my community. For the past 11 years, I have dedicated my life to empowering our youth and thus, combatting systemic racism and barriers in our educational system.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am currently a middle school principal. I have served in education for the past 11 years. I actively work to create an affirming, inclusive, and liberatory experience for the students, families, and educators I am lucky to partner with. Due to my orientation and focus on dismantling oppressive systems and structures, people have attempted to silence me and even mocked my plans because they are not ready for change and I will even add or not willing to eliminate their own privileged state in service of the greater community. In order to combat the sound, I practice daily reflection. I take the time to re-visit my “why” and my core values. By doing this on a daily basis, it gives me strength to be “radical” and continue pushing on. In addition, I take the time to cheer on and affirm the work of other educators and leaders. I take these steps because I believe by empowering other change agents, that we will all continue this fight because we have the support and accountability in one another. I also make the time to listen to my partners in equity of what they want and need so that my decisions are community-centered and thus, in service of our youth.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love being outdoors and getting my grub on. I live in South LA, so I would want my friend to see what you can experience all within a small, yet beautiful radius. I would have us start our day by visiting Kenneth Hahn Park were we can walk the trails and get a beautiful view of the city. We would probably have a choice of lunch between any of the following Black owned businesses such as Simply Wholesome, Grilled Fraiche, or Find Your Hilltop for a small bite. I am also a creator at heart, so we then after showering the hike away, would go to the California African American Museum by USC to revel in the art and passion of amazing artists. We then would wrap up our day with an aromatic and soothing tea and small pastry from Mingles Tea Bar in Inglewood.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, my parents deserve an enormous amount of recognition and gratitude. If it was not for them, I would not be the person I am today. My parents both sacrificed immensely to give me access to different opportunities. They moved across the country, leaving behind their circle of support so that we could live a better life. They showed up to every school assembly, basketball game, competition, and ceremony so that I knew that they saw me and were proud of the steps I was taking in finding my own footing. They are my best friends who have shown my unconditional love. They pick me up when I fall and are sounding boards for any wild or random idea or plan I have. From the day I was born, they were role models of what it means to be selfless and to use your actions, words, and love to uplift your community. I am an extension and an evolved version of my parents.
Last but not least, thank you to my sisters who the universe brought into my life. Whether we met in a personal or professional setting, my sister circle has wrapped their arms around me and have enclosed me with their love, wisdom, and light. They remind me daily of what it means to be a strong woman and leader.