In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 28th, Jessica St. Louis, a 26-year-old Black woman was found unresponsive at the Dublin BART station. She had died after being released from Santa Rita, Alameda's county jail, at 1:25a. Without adequate transportation, food or a place to go.
We are in contact with Jessica's family who shared memories of a funny, beautiful and loving woman. Below is a statement written by the family. This is how they want Jessica to be remembered.
From the Family of Jessica
Jessica St. Louis was born in Haiti and moved here when she was seven. Her mother passed away and she was sent to the US to live with her father, who passed away when she was in high school.
She lived in San Rafael, Richmond and in Discovery Bay for 8 years.
Jessica was one of the warmest and loving people you would ever meet. She could talk to literally any person she met- she made friends with everyone. She had an openness to the world that people responded to and wanted to connect with.
One of her friends shared "there was something about Jess that always made me proud to know her. I knew she had a tough childhood....(you) didn't need to know more to know she was strong, brave and a beautiful human."
Another friend shared after hearing of her passing "She was such a thoughtful, kind individual. My memories of her are vivid and full of joy from middle school."
Jessica was stunningly beautiful. During a trip to New York with one of her beloved foster mothers when she was 14, many men (often grown men) tried to talk to her. Sometimes they needed to be informed that she was 14. When they returned to the family friend's home they were staying at, he asked her, in a educator/mentor fashion, how she decided who (the men who approached her) she would talk to. Jess thought for a minute and said, "I think everyone deserves to be spoken to and talked with."
This was Jess and it is how she moved in the world. This is one of the things we valued most about her and one of the things we will miss so much. She did not judge. She really loved people and cared about each person's story. She was upset by others' suffering and deeply wanted to help others.
She was an incredibly strong person. Not just in an emotional sense-- she had to learn that -- but really physically strong. She was tiny but could help move furniture. One of the happiest times was when she was dancing in a dance troupe every weekend and being the only girl on her Pop Warner football team. She loved taking pictures in a million different poses, and putting on makeup and pretty things. She loved dressing in high heels and nice clothes, AND she loved being on the football team.
One of the proudest day of her life and true joy was the day she gave birth to her son.
She was generous. She loved giving and getting gifts and even when she was really struggling herself, she showed up with gifts for her loved ones. She loved being able to give-- her love language was definitely gifts. She was also so affectionate-- she greeted everyone with a hug, and only needed to be introduced to someone once to send them off with a hug. Sometimes she just handed hugs out at random times.
Jessica was determined and wanted to do well. One of her proudest accomplishments was graduating from YearUp, a job training/leadership program in San Francisco. She wanted to be a credit to her family and really wanted people she loved to be proud of her.
She loved family functions such as holidays and birthdays. Christmas was her favorite because the tree was always beautifully decorated and loaded with gifts; the house smelling of delicious foods and full of lots of family and friends visiting from near and far to celebrate the love and joy of the holiday season.
Jessica really wanted to grow as a person, and she kept showing up, even if it was hard. It wasn't perfect but she did not stop trying--even if she would take a break from trying-- she always came back.
Jessica loved Reese's peanut butter cups, chicken, fried salmon and steak, scrambled eggs with ketchup, hoodies, high heels, Betty Boop, purses, laughing, dancing, being silly and really comfy pajamas.
Jessica loved her dad's ribs and my macaroni and cheese and loved her mother/daughter days with Benita, her foster mother. They would shop, get their hair nails and toes done together on their special pampering days. Some of her favorite moments were spending quality time with her God sister C'yna, watching movies and taking tons of silly pictures. She had one of the best senses of humor and lacked a filter at times when joking and having fun. We will all miss how Jess made us laugh.
This is how we want Jessica remembered; as a beautiful Black woman who believed every human should be treated with respect and dignity.
What has happened to her is tragic and there are many questions that we want to be answered. There is no reason why Jessica should have been released in the middle of the night. Alone and without any supportive services. While there is no way to bring Jessica back, we believe this should never happen to any other woman being released from a correctional facility again.