By Ava Marshall /Main photo by Ryan West
Whether you’ve seen her in the Netflix series Team Kaylie or on ABC’s Alex, Inc, Symera Jackson is another dope Black girl making a way for herself as a creative. She first began acting at the age of 4, starting out in theater productions before moving to television. “I see myself as a positive, intelligent, giving, bubbly, and creative person,” she says. “Acting is my passion, and that is how I cultivate my creativity.”
Most recently, Symera took on a role that was eerily reflective of real life. In the viral PSA made by Sandy Hook Promise, Symera portrays a scared teen hiding in the bathroom on the phone while a gunman invades her school. The short aims to wake up a nation that has become desensitized to gun violence, and the PSA was an impactful experience not only for viewers, but also for Symera herself.
“I was very young at the time of the Sandy Hook incident, so I was actually unfamiliar with what had happened until I got an opportunity to audition for the PSA. I spent a lot of time reading articles to familiarize and immerse myself with the subject. I was immediately touched by the story, and I really wanted to be a part of the project and to be able to share its important message,” Symera says. “Personally, every lockdown drill at school rattles me, for it furthermore states that these situations are the reality of the world today.”
As gun violence in schools has become all too familiar, Symera hopes the PSA will encourage an urgency for change. You can watch the video below, but we do warn you — it may be triggering.
Besides going to school, managing an acting career, and raising awareness about gun violence, Symera is also a huge proponent of protecting the world’s oceans, using her platform to advocate for ocean conservation. She works with Heal the Bay, volunteering for beach cleanups in order to combat pollution. “I want to spread positivity and take care of our oceans and environment. So much can be done by increasing awareness through social media. All of the different platforms allow people to stay connected, unite and work together as a whole.”
All this may sound hella hard to balance, and tbh, it is. But, ya’ girl puts in work to manage her time as best she can. “[It] can be challenging because both demand a lot of time and dedication,” she explains. “I love school, and I also love to act. Both require a commitment, as well as focus and perseverance.”
In the future, Symera plans add producer and director to her roster of skills, hoping to make productions that have a real impact on the world. It’s clear she has her eyes on the prize, and with that kind of focus, there’s nothing she can’t do.
On a mission to fill that void in the mainstream media, in which Black girls are virtually invisible, Sesi (a quarterly, print magazine for Black teen girls) celebrates them. As an independent magazine with very little advertising, we rely on the support of our community to continue publishing. You can show your support by subscribing or donating. Subscriptions are only $10 a year and you can donate any amount you’d like. ❤️