CSE staff work closely with the the Southern Equality Fund Advisory Council to coordinate SEF activities and administer grants. The Advisory Council is led by individuals based in the South who represent the communities the SEF seeks to serve.

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council designs the grantmaking process (application, reviewing and reporting) and makes funding decisions for all grassroots grants.

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Carter West

Carter West is a transgender male living in Taylors, SC. He is a sophomore Psychology major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor at the University of South Carolina: Upstate. Carter hopes to get his masters degree to become a therapist for LGBT youth. He is the Youth Director for the Gender Benders, a grass roots group based in the Upstate South Carolina. Outside of his passion for LGBT youth, Carter loves animals and currently has 8 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 rat.

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Cecilia Sáenz Becerra

Cecilia Sáenz Becerra is a Mexican immigrant, queer, Xicana, ¡y desmadrosa! Somewhere between growing up undocumented in Phoenix, AZ combined with seeing her parents struggle to work three jobs between them– the catalyst for her politicization was born. What started as high school activism, evolved into a commitment of working alongside and centering people most affected by state violence, class, and racism – for their liberation and hers.

Cecilia has grassroots, community organizing, and coalition building experience on various issues and campaigns, including immigration justice, worker rights, education, economic justice, and anti-police brutality work. She’s has been living in Atlanta for six years, where she provides support, strategy and technical assistance to front-line advocates and grassroots organizers across the country who exist along a varied spectrum of reproductive rights and reproductive justice politics. She is also a Board Member of a reproductive justice and sexual health organization that focuses on women, particularly of African descent.

Leading up to this day, Cecilia is more or less: pushing, experimenting, talking/listening and learning. She enjoys pushing her physical strength and endurance with the support of QueerFit. Experimenting, curating, and creating ‘southern-mexican fixins’ on a plate with her partner for #fixinsdeamor. Being a bridge via freelance interpreting, and learning to listen to the magic of the ancestors and the power, strength, and knowledge they bring to her/our life/lives/work.

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Daroneshia Duncan

Ms. Duncan is an advocate for transgender women in Greater Birmingham. As a trans woman of color, she is all too familiar with the challenges the ladies face in the community. She founded the TAKE (Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering) Peer Group on April 27, 2013 in partnership with AIDS Alabama to create a safe-space for transgender individuals. She also works as a treatment prevention specialist at the Living Well Outpatient Center.

Ms. Duncan has experienced many highs and lows in life. She did survival sex work for over a year and during that time abused a number of substances to numb the pain of isolation that she faced. Ms. Duncan has overcome a number of obstacles and owns the Platinum International Icon Pageantry System, which is a pageantry system based in Birmingham, AL. She is committed to increasing her knowledge and building new opportunities to help transgender women and those who are often excluded and overlooked by society. Ms. Duncan is very active in reaching out to women who are not often reached through the usual service system and, as a trans woman of color, is passionate about making health services accessible to all.

As a grassroots leader in the south she hope being selected to be an advisory council member she is able to  bridge the funding gaps between grassroots leaders and funders in the deep south.

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Femi Shittu

Femi Shittu is a black queer woman troublemaker from the rural south. Raised in Yanceyville North Carolina, she ventured off to Greensboro for college and has recently re-located to Durham, NC to work with Ignite NC. She plans to go to grad school for Social Work and eventually open up a wellness center with her community. She is committed to spreading LGBTQ history and claiming the queer legacy in the struggle for liberation. A writer always and a DJ by night. An extrovert who enjoys ice cold beer, smoking lavender, and traveling across the U.S. consistently. Femi is absolutely and completely in love with the south.

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Mary Jamis

Mary is the president of M Creative—a values-driven strategic communications firm that helps visionary organizations do more good for more people. M Creative is a certified B Corporation, a designation granted by B Lab to organizations that believe in the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Certification requires a serious commitment to higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance to all stakeholders, including employees, clients, and vendor partners.

Mary is one of the five founding members of The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, a philanthropic community of over 800 female philanthropists who provide grants to local programs and initiatives that address the root causes of social issues impacting women and girls in Forsyth County. Mary has also been involved in local and statewide efforts around LGBTQ issues, including Amendment One and HB2 and is proud to have worked with the Campaign for Southern Equality since 2012 on community mobilization and efforts around the WE DO campaign. She is co-founder of Equality Winston-Salem, the group initially responsible for reintroducing PRIDE to the Winston-Salem community and has led efforts to award college monies over the last five years to local LGBTQ seniors and allies.

She currently serves on the board of North Star LGBTQ community center and is a past board member of Equality NC. Mary is an undergraduate of Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and has her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Kent State University.  Mary is a native of Pittsburgh, PA.

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Dr. S. Nicole Cathey

Dr. S. Nicole Cathey is a professor, minister and community advocate from Jackson, MS.  She received her doctorate in Political Science from Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Her research interests encompass political behavior, public opinion and political participation, with an emphasis in the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality.  She is the founder of the Inner Light Community and apart of PATHWAYS, the Regional Theological Education program sponsored by the United Church of Christ (UCC).  

She serves as the Co-Chair of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) LGBTQ Caucus. As a scholar-activist, she works to integrate applied research with social justice issues.  In her spare time, she uses community gardening as a means of teaching young people about growing food, healthy eating, and food distribution in her home state of Mississippi. 

Campaign for Southern Equality Staff

CSE Staff and consultants provide support to the Advisory Council in the grantmaking process, and work in partnership with Advisory Council to provide training and support to grantees, and to coordinate network-building opportunities through the SEF.

SEF Leadership Team:

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Chloe Stuber

Chloe Stuber is the Hometown Organizing Project Director with the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) and has been active in social justice efforts in North Carolina and across the South since 2007. When Chloe joined the CSE team in 2013, she brought years of experience providing a broad range of support to a variety of organizations and groups across North Carolina through her work with the Center for Participatory Change and Hispanics in Philanthropy. Currently, she continues to provide support to groups across the South through the Southern Equality Fund, a grassroots grantmaking initiative designed to direct resources to LGTBQ grassroots groups and leaders who are underresourced or isolated due to geography of demographics. In all of her work, she is committed to uplifting and elevating the voices of those directly affected, and supporting their leadership and vision for change. Popular education, feminism and anti-racism shape Chloe’s core values in her work, personal and community life. She holds a BA in Social Work from Warren Wilson College, a Non-Profit Management Certification from Duke University Continuing Studies and is fluent in Spanish. She currently lives in Charleston, SC with her partner José and their cat Billie and dog Mahtli.

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Craig White

Craig has more than 20 years experience providing capacity-building support to grassroots organizations in the South and Appalachia. Craig also works as a racial equity trainer and consultant, and has been active in CSE’s leadership since it launched.

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Britney Nesbit

Britney Nesbit was born in Atlanta but calls Charleston, South Carolina home. Britney is a proud University of South Carolina alum. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Her love for science and passion for helping others led her to pursue a career as a pharmacist. But after witnessing the real health disparities experienced by LGBT+ folks and marginalized communities of color, she was motivated to step outside of the healthcare provider role and into the role of a social justice advocate. Britney has exercised her commitment to intersectional advocacy, racial equity, and coalition building by facilitating LGBT+ ally workshops, creating empathy-building training sessions, and teaming up with LGBT+ community organizations to make healthcare institutes a safer and affirming space for LGBT+ individuals. She is excited to pursue social justice advocacy work professionally as a Community Organizer for CSE through the Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship for the 2016-2017 year.

SEF Support Staff:

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Aaron Sarver

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.

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Ivy Gibson-Hill

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 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. Ivy is based in Piedmont, SC.

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Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

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 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.

Jasmine has written widely about strategy in the LGBT movement:

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Lindsey Wilson

Lindsey Wilson grew up across the South and moved to Asheville in 2002 where she currently lives with her wife, 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. Contact: lindsey@southernequality.org