Activist Nia Jones, also known on social media as Hoochie God, said after the killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant she felt a need to speak up for Black women across the country. Bryant was shot by the Columbus Police Department outside of her home. Williams said she felt outraged by the reaction to her death and that Black children deserve to be treated like children.
“Black women are just so unprotected even as children,” Jones told the Signal. “She was a little girl and people were making it seem as if it was her fault that happened. It was at that moment where I just realized this is ridiculous. At this point something needs to be done.”
So in April, Jones created the grassroots organization Social Justice Solutions or Hoochies of Houston which focuses on protecting Black women and empowering Black people to get involved in politics.
Jones said her first love of acting and theatre grew because she loved evoking emotions through her performance. Now, she said she’s doing the same thing through her organization. With thousands of followers on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, Jones said she’s using her platform to create a safe space for Black women.
“I have this big ass platform and I think I could use that to a great advantage,” she said. “I was upset [with how the world was treating Black people] and I wanted other people that look like me to be as upset as I am because with that anger comes a want toward a solution.”
Recently Hoochies of Houston had the opportunity to partner with community groups like Black Voters Matter and former South Carolina representative Bakari Sellers.
Jones said being a Black woman in the south has inspired her advocacy work.
“Growing up as a Black woman in the south is kind of troubling and it’s a little hard, racism, misogyny, couple that together you have misogynoir,” Jones said. “Being one of the most vulnerable demographics in America really drove me to get something done.”
Policy change, combating voter suppression, and addressing medical racism are Hoochies for Houston three key issues, according to Jones. But she has also been outspoken on other issues like police brutality, decriminalizing cannabis, and LGBTQ and women rights.
Just this legislative session, Jones was very outspoken about SB 7, a voter suppression bill Texas Republicans tried to pass, but was killed when Democrats broke quorum. She said Black people exercising their right to vote and working locally in communities is a must.
“If these people are so hell bent on suppressing your vote don’t you think it matters a little bit,” she said. “When you’re working from home and you’re doing things in your city and in your state that’s where you can make the most change.”
Both Jones and her mother Mia Williams have organized for Hoochies of Houston to participate in protests and rallies across the country.
In June, Jones participated in a Freedom Ride for Voting Rights with Black Voters Matter and Equal Justice Now all the way to Washington, D.C.
Jones said one way Hoochies is fighting issues like voter suppression is by holding government officials accountable.
“These government officials and the people we have in office elected them because they work for us, they’re supposed to do what we say,” she said. “So if that means mass calling their phone lines and not stopping until someone gives you an answer about what’s going to be done then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Hoochies is also working to create advocacy work through social media and provide resources for individuals who want to get involved. Soon they will be releasing a template on how and where to contact Texas legislators.
“We’ll be able to help people find out the numbers and contact information for their local senators and legislators so they can reach out and know exactly what they want to get done,” she said.
In addition to fighting voter suppression, Jones said she is fighting one of the biggest issues facing Black women right now: medical racism. According to statistics, Black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth than other demographics.
“Were not really listened to and were not paid attention to and for a long time in alot of medical classes a lot of doctors were being taught that Black women felt pain differently,” she said. “So that has led to a lot of Black women dying because a doctor didn’t believe what she was going through.”
In addition to medical racism, a womens right to choose is also being minimized in the Texas legislature with mostly white men writing these anti-abortion bills. Jones said as women we have to fight for our rights. In May, Hoochies of Houston participated in the Don’t Mess with Texas Abortions rally in Austin.
“Nobody should be able to tell you what you can and can’t do with your body, especially a bunch of people who don’t even have the proper parts,” Jones said. “I don’t want to hear no man tell me what I can and can’t do with my coochie.”
At 24 years old, Hoochies is Jones first grassroots organization, but said she has plans to create a Hoochies for Black women and femmes in every major city.
“I really want more people to get involved and become passionate about our rights and the place that we live in,” she said.
Photo: Hoochies of Houston/Instagram
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.