The latino policy institute
City Council President for the City of Central Falls
Born and raised to a Dominican family, Jessica Vega describes her inner circle as a very close-knit community within a community. When she migrated to the United States from La Romana, Dominican Republic, at a young age with her older sister, Central Falls was the first place they called home. As her family began their new life in Rhode Island, she also spent time in Providence and went through the Providence Public School system which allowed her to have friends and experiences in both cities.
Attending schools where teachers’ expectations weren’t much of anything for their students, as a brown-skinned, non-native English speaker these experiences lit a fire for Jessica as to what her career would look like with her. Her goal was to dismantle the unnecessary challenges her community faced and she found her passion in working with youth. After receiving her Bachelor’s from Rhode Island College she worked as a high-school advisor, where she ran after-school programs and assisted students beginning their journey to college.
Jessica wears many hats in her community from Chair of the Central Falls Juvenile Hearing Board working to prevent youth from any criminal justice involvement by keeping child behaviors as child behaviors instead of criminal offense, to teaching students the power of civic engagement through the Democratic process called Participatory Budgeting. Her ultimate goal is to teach our students about the power of civic engagement through the democratic process.
For Jessica, as a Latina, through her experiences and her work she was fascinated and frustrated by the folks who make decisions for communities they’ve never set foot in. To change that narrative, Jessica ran for the city council in Central Falls in 2018 to support her community in a different capacity as a public servant. Jessica now serves as City Council President for the City of Central Falls. She believes it is crucial for Latinos and BIPOC communities to understand that politics affect their daily lives and access to resources even if it may not be of interest to them.