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 LGBTQ rights campaigns since 2004 and founded the Campaign for Southern Equality in 2011. Jasmine serves on the Biden Foundation’s Advisory Council for Advancing LGBTQ Equality and has been interviewed by MSNBC, The New York Times, and the BBC about LGBTQ rights in the South. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and her first collection of short stories, Damn Love, won the 2014 PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention Award for Debut Fiction. Jasmine and her wife, Meghann, live in Asheville, NC, with their son. She serves on Buncombe County Commission, representing District 1.
Jasmine has written widely about LGBTQ issues in the South:
- “What Level of Discrimination Will We Accept in NC?” – Raleigh News & Observer
- “Southern Fried Pride: What Hattiesburg’s First Pride Means in the Deep South” – Medium
- “Pay It Forward: A New Way to Fund Grassroots LGBTQ Organizing in the South” – Responsive Philanthropy
Ivy Gibson-Hill, LGBTQ Rights Toolkit Coordinator
Ivy Gibson-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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ Rights Toolkit Coordinator. Ivy is based in Piedmont, SC.
Chase Harless, Community Program Evaluator
Chase Harless was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. Being raised in a smaller Appalachian town, Chase understands the disparities the LGBTQ community faces in the South. This created an early desire to be an advocate for social justice and equal treatment for the LGBTQIA+ community along with other at-risk groups. He attended East Tennessee State University and graduated with a degree in Sociology with a focus on survey research and data analysis. After graduating with his undergraduate degree, he worked in survey research with the Applied Social Research Lab at ETSU. Chase is currently enrolled at Western Carolina University pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work and has been interning with CSE since winter 2017. Once graduated, he hopes to continue to advocate for the LGBTQ community through policy and legislative work.
Britney Nesbit, Southern Equality Fund Coordinator
Britney hails from Charleston, South Carolina and is a proud University of South Carolina alum. Since 2013, she has worked as an LGBTQ rights advocate and racial justice activist. Britney leads racial equity trainings and LGBTQ sensititvity workshops as part of her community organizing work for the Black Freedom Movement. She serves as Program Coordinator of the Southern Equality Fund, CSE’s grantmaking initiative. During 2017, she administered 85 grants totaling $50,922 to grassroots LGBTQ organizers across the South.
Fletcher Page, LGBTQ Resources Navigator
Born and raised in Piedmont, South Carolina, Fletcher Page is a trans man who’s been working for social justice since 2012. Fletcher has served as the Assistant Director of Gender Benders – a grassroots support and advocacy group for trans and GNC people – since January of 2016. In 2015 Fletcher started doing education work surrounding trans issues. He’s done trans sensitivity trainings for 30+ colleges, universities, businesses, hospitals, organizations, and government agencies since 2015. Fletcher also assists with creating the program and organizing camp GB – an annual summer camp for trans and GNC people across the southeastern US. In 2017, his work with CSE included helping organize 26 free Pop-Up Clinics to provide direct services to LGBTQ folks across the South.
Aaron Sarver, Communications Director
Aaron Sarver grew up in North Carolina and graduated from N.C. State University with a B.A. in Economics. His writing has appeared in In These Times, The Chicago Reader, The News and Observer, and The Asheville Citizen-Times.
Aaron has presented on social media and public relations at the LGBTQ 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. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Just Economics of Western North Carolina.
Maya Avery Washington, Tzedek Social Justice Fellow for Engagement and Operations
Maya Avery Washington is a black, queer, woman from Atlanta, Georgia. Before moving to Asheville she was apart of the planning committee of the National Conference of Black Mayors Convention in Cali, Colombia, a Black Studies student at Georgia State University and a supportive ally to various grassroots organizations in the South.
She believes in collective, intersectional liberation with a focus on reproductive justice. She values the power of intergenerational and ancestral work, creativity, and working towards an environmentally minded world. Maya’s passions lie in building bridges with accomplices of all ages, abilities, races, sexualities, socioeconomic backgrounds and genders by creating warm, safe spaces where folks can convene, create and build emotional support systems. Maya currently works as the Tzedek Social Justice Fellow for Engagement and Operations for the Campaign for Southern Equality. Her duties include assisting with event planning and administrative support around fundraising.
After Tzedek, she has professional dreams of assisting nonprofits in adopting cutting edge fundraising and mindful accessibility techniques. Her personal future lies in planning for the future of autonomous healing, living and growing space for black and brown queer folks.
Lindsey Wilson, Director of Engagement and Operations
Lindsey Wilson grew up across the South and moved to Asheville in 2002 where she currently lives with her wife, Melissa, daughter, Peyton, dog, cats, and chickens. She has more than a decade of experience on local, state and federal political, social justice, and environmental campaigns. She is an active volunteer with the YWCA of Asheville where she serves on the Finance Committee. Lindsey has worked with the Campaign for Southern Equality since 2011.
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.