Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director
Raised in North Carolina, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is a minister in the United Church of Christ. She is a graduate of Brown University and received a MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. She has worked on LGBT rights campaigns since 2004 and founded the Campaign for Southern Equality in 2011. Jasmine has been interviewed by MSNBC, The New York Times, and the BBC about LGBT rights in the South. She is a recipient of a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and her first collection of short stories, Damn Love, was published in 2013; it won the 2014 PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention Award for Debut Fiction. Jasmine and her wife, Meghann, live in Asheville, NC, with their son.
Jasmine has written widely about strategy in the LGBT movement:
- “How Resistance Will Change the South” – The Advocate
- “Challenging NC’s immoral and unconstitutional Amendment One” – Raleigh News & Observer
- “Taking a Stand for Equality in Mississippi”– Huffington Post
Felicia Blow, Community Organizer
Felicia Blow was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, and recently graduated from UNC Asheville with a degree in Sociology. Through her community work in the Asheville area, she has worked with youth from underresourced communities, children on the autism spectrum, and women in the criminal justice system, and assisted in the opening of a resource center for LGBTQ students, women, survivors of sexual violence, and allies at her alma mater. She has a passion for intersectional social justice work and a commitment to raising visibility and agency for underrepresented groups. She is thrilled to join the CSE team as a Community Organizer through the Tzedek Social Justice Residency for the 2015-16 year.
Ivy Hill, LGBT Rights Toolkit Coordinator
Ivy Hill was born in Piedmont SC where ze currently resides with hir wife Misha. Ivy is a Co-founder and the Program Director of the award-winning trans advocacy and support group Gender Benders based in Upstate SC. Over the past 10 years Ivy has served marginalized communities in a variety of capacities ranging from education and advocacy work for inclusive hate crime legislation, to serving on SC Equality’s Trans Action Committee and Greenville Forward’s Inclusion and Diversity Task-Force, to organizing Greenville’s largest counter KKK rally. In late 2014 Ivy was honored to accept the Ryan Wilson Equality Award for outstanding advocacy for the LGBT* community of SC. Check out hir 2015 TEDxGreenville presentation here. As a long time CSE supporter, ze is excited to be serving as CSE’s LGBT Rights Toolkit Coordinator.
Aaron Sarver, Communications Director
Aaron Sarver grew up in North Carolina and attended N.C. State University where he graduated with a B.A. in Economics. His writing has appeared in In These Times, The Chicago Reader, Alternet, and The Asheville Citizen-Times.
Aaron has presented on social media and public relations at the LGBT* in the South conference, Netroots and Creating Change. He frequently runs communications trainings and workshop for community groups and non-profits. Since 2012, he has been CSE’s Communication Director.
Lindsey Simerly, Director of Engagement and Operations
Lindsey Simerly grew up across the South and moved to Asheville in 2002 where she currently lives with her fiancee, Melissa, and daughter, Peyton. She has worked on local, state and federal campaigns for the past nine years, focusing on strategy and field operations. Her past personal experiences with poverty shape her commitment to economic justice issues and she currently serves as Chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee for the City of Asheville. She has been with the Campaign for Southern Equality since 2011.
Chloe Stuber, Hometown Organizing Project Coordinator
Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Chloe graduated with her B.A. in Social Work from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. Her work with the WNC community has focused on educational opportunities for underrepresented youth, immigrant justice, and most recently, LGBT rights with CSE. Currently, she works part-time with CSE and part-time with Hispanics in Philanthropy, a transnational organization working to build stronger Latino communities through philanthropy. Chloe is fluent in Spanish and has lived abroad in the Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia and most recently Spain. Through her work coordinating the annual LGBT* in the South conference, Chloe strives to provide a unique and valuable opportunity for advocates and allies from across the South and across intersections of race, ethinicity, class, sexuality, gender identity, immigration status, ability and age, to come together to work toward a more just and equitable South.
CSE’s Legal Team includes pro bono attorneys across the South. They are led by:
Meghann Burke, Legal Team Leader
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Meghann Burke is an attorney at Brazil & Burke, where she focuses on civil and criminal litigation. She received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. During law school, Meghann worked with the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project on the first case ever to recover damages against a public entity for its complicity with the Ku Klux Klan’s campaign of racial violence during the Civil Rights Movement. She authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Campaign for Southern Equality in the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges and is a frequent presenter on constitutional law at workshops around the South. She also leads the Buncombe County Criminal Defense Bar and serves on the Legal Affairs Committee of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Meghann was nominated by her colleagues as a “Young Gun” Legal Elite by Business North Carolina in 2013 for her work in criminal defense cases. Meghann began her law practice after finishing a ten-year professional soccer career. Meghann is a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. She spends her free time mountain biking, standup paddle boarding, and playing soccer. She and her wife, Jasmine, enjoy dance parties with their son and taking in the sights and scenes of downtown Asheville.
Diane Walton, Legal Team
Diane Walton (“Dizy”) is a licensed attorney in private practice in North Carolina. The focus of her work is family law, including child custody, adoption, divorce, and partnership documents. Diane served in the United States Coast Guard, is on the CSE legal team, and resides in Asheville, NC with her partner Sarah and their three sons.