Jessica Clay was an advocate, attorney, artist, and overall amazing human who believed in each individual making a difference in the world.
4 November 2021
The Jessica Clay Social Justice & Equality Fund
Jessica Clay was an advocate, attorney, artist, and overall amazing human who believed in each individual making a difference in the world. “She was an independent person that envisioned herself as a leader and felt a personal responsibility for creating change wherever it was needed,” reflected her parents, Butch and Cindy Clay. On July 12, 2021, Jessica passed away after a heroic battle with brain cancer.
Jessica’s parents came to the Community Foundation shortly after her passing to set up the Jessica Clay Social Justice & Equality Fund, honoring the legacy of Jessica’s passion for social justice and creating change within our community. Growing up in Wausau, the Clay family always appreciated Wausau being a community with a long history of individuals giving back to their hometown. Jessica particularly loved that the city was indeed an ideal environment to grow up in. She loved our excellent schools, park system, cultural opportunities, festivals, and the YMCA.
Jessica’s passion for social justice stemmed from three areas in her life. While attending UW Madison, she was involved with the local Women’s Community and survivors of assault. Her professional years of working in the courts brought an acute awareness of racial and social inequities in our court system. Working as a plaintiff attorney in employment law, she was saddened by the discrimination she witnessed in the workplace—particularly discrimination by gender, race, and cultural background.
“We believe Jessica would like to impact the marginalized population of the area to provide opportunities that the rest of us take for granted. Eliminating inequities in any of the many areas (education, employment, criminal justice) that will enable people to have a better outcome in their lives,” said Butch and Cindy. The Jessica Clay Social Justice & Equality Fund was created to carry on Jessica’s passion in our community.
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