Fall 2017 Fellows



Chasyn Carter is a Junior Journalism student at North Carolina A&T State University by way of Charleston, South Carolina. While only a baby organizer (two years), Chasyn has found a lifelong love and dedication to building, growing and loving with and in her community in the most revolutionary way she knows how: working toward liberation. She hopes to build in her skills of facilitation and digesting then reteaching important political education in different ways, making it easier to digest to others. Chasyn loves chipotle, SZA and black people.

Avery Walter  is a current fourth year student at Appalachian State with a double major in Sociology and Psychology and a double minor in Women’s Studies and LGBT Studies. They are from Cary, NC, but currently live in Durham. They hope to learn from other organizers across the state and move towards equity for all marginalized identities.

Payton McGarry is a college student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studies Economics. On campus, Payton serves as the vice president of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity, where he has worked with the national executive board to revise policies surrounding LGBTQ inclusion within the fraternity. He is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society as well as the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and is currently completing the Silver Leadership Challenge at UNCG.A dedicated public servant, Payton has earned both the silver and gold Presidential Volunteer Service awards. Off campus, Payton is a member of the board for the LGBTQ Center of Greensboro, and works with the NCCJ to educate his community about the importance of LGBTQ inclusion, socioeconomic diversity and intersectionality. Payton aspires to complete his undergraduate degree and pursue a career in law.

Shannel Arellano is an organizer and media maker from central Appalachia. Originally from Lebanon, Virginia, Shannel studied Media Production at Radford University and is an alumni of Appalashop’s Appalachian Media Institute in Whitesburg, KY. While newly residing in Greensboro, Shannel is excited to plug into the youth movement of NC. Through this fellowship, Shannel looks forward to learning more about the history of activism within NC how we can further support it’s communities today.

Kayla Taylor is a 20 year old from Raleigh by way of Goldsboro, NC who is junior at the University of North Carolina at Asheville currently studying International Studies and Africana Studies. She is particularly interested in marxism, black political thought, history (particularly black history, women’s history, and black women’s history).


Kyla Hartsfield is a native of Raleigh NC currently attending North Carolina Central University and residing in Durham NC. She is a Senior and apart of the Language and Literature department studying English. Kyla hopes to change her life by changing the lives of the youth in our community.





Ana Valdez is a Junior, Political Science and Latin American Studies double major currently attending UNC Charlotte. She was born in Cd. Juarez, Mexico and has lived in Ayden, NC for the past 10 years before moving to Charlotte for college. She hopes to sharpen her organizing skills through Ignite NC workshops, mentors, and trainings. Through this fellowship, she wants to help expand sanctuary for marginalized people in her community in sustainable and measurable ways.



Morgan Danielle Turner is a native of Winston Salem, attending Forsyth Technical Community College where she hopes to further the work done by those before her in achieving equality and understanding for marginalized communities.



Buka Ibeziako was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, but has spent most of their life in the Triangle. They are very passionate about the liberation of all black people.






Elijah Rogan- Kelly is a third year at Guilford College (Greensboro), studying Sustainable Food Systems and Sculpture. They are interested in farming, community building and art. They’re excited to be powerful and radical with IgniteNC and make waves with the Ignite family.


Page Nevel is a local of Western North Carolina. They are a senior at UNC-Asheville studying Sociology with a concentration in racial justice. Page is currently working on their thesis investigating how youth programs can be a creative mechanism for social change in marginalized communities. They hope to explore other creative approaches to organizing this semester by working with Ignite NC. Page hopes that they can organize coalition-based, community-oriented, sustainable interventions for fighting injustice in North Carolina and beyond.


Diego Vergara was born in Bogotá, Colombia, but has lived most of his life in NC. He is a senior at UNCG, and is majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, and Studio Fine Arts. Diego is interested in the role of art in organizing/ activism/education, and hopes to bring awareness and change to racialized and gendered surveillance on campus.

Beck Martens is a senior at UNCA studying sociology + gender and sexuality studies. They have a passion for social justice, learning, art, and plants. They hope to defend, befriend, and learn from fellow trans folks of North Carolina and fight for gender justice in a holistic and intentional way. Beck is super excited to organize with Ignite NC!!!

L. A. Davis-Durante II hails from Durham, NC. He is a college senior at UNCG studying Psychology & Social Work. His passion and life goal is to provide mental health counseling for the economically disadvantaged and dismantle the stigmas around mental illness by reteaching the importance of self care in minority communities.

Angum Check was born in Bali, Cameroon and immigrated to Prince Georges County, Maryland at the age of 7. She is now a junior at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill studying Philosophy and African studies in hopes of becoming a lawyer one day. Since coming to North Carolina she has been active in both on-campus and community organizations focused on social justice. For her second year in Ignite, Angum hopes to transfer skills and the knowledge she has learned to other UNC students so they too can turn up until we are all free.

Mary Holiman she is from Hardeeville, South Carolina, a coastal town bordering Savannah, GA but currently lives in Charlotte, NC where she is a junior at Johnson C. Smith University. Her hopes for this semester consists of networking with like-minded people in her community that have the same goals that she does and making the world a better place for marginalized individuals.

Amber Sturdivant is a Charlotte native who attends East Carolina University. She is a Political Science and Ethnic Studies double major in her third year. She plans to focus her organizing more around the Greenville community this semester.

Rachael Wise is a Charlotte, NC native and is an alumna of the Illustrious North Carolina A&T State University. She received her bachelors of science in Criminal Justice in 2015. She is now a Criminal Justice Masters student at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. This semester she hopes to establish and cultivate solid relationships with her peers, colleagues and the community while educating and building foundation for the liberation of black and brown people.

Danica Lee is a senior at Appalachian State University studying biology and anthropology. She is passionate about the social sustainability of higher education and hopes to advocate for Asian American and other diaspora studies in NC.

Henri Coker is a junior at UNC Charlotte pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Political science with a minor in Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Rights. They organize with the radical leftist student group Customer49. And they are apart of a queer black cohort dedicated to the movement for black lives.





Julissa Garcia was born in Nicaragua and raised in Wilmington, NC. She graduated in May 2016 from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Political Science and hopes to attend law school in fall 2018! She hopes to make a difference in North Carolina’s social justice movement and grow professionally!

Debbie The Artist Long is an unapologetic, black, queer, artivist; currently living and loving in Greensboro, NC where she attends NCATSU. Art is not merely what she makes or what she does, but who she is. The artist found her purpose by simply telling the truth and recognizes it a form of activism which is plainly expressed within her work. While working with ignite she hopes to be enlightened and to enlighten others.


Terri Daniels is from Southeast Washington, D.C. Terri currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she attends Guilford College. Her hopes for organizing this semester is to learn designing campaigns to gain liberation for oppressed people.





Nifemi Ogunro is of Nigerian descent and immigrated to the United States when she was 4 years old. She has spent most of her life in Charlotte. She looks forward to organizing events in her community and raising the voices of marginalized individuals.




Nada Merghani is an organizer/student based in Charlotte, NC and attending the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Originally born in Khartoum, Sudan. They are currently working towards fighting against the school to prison pipeline, working to fight ableism in college communities, getting an LGBT center created at UNCC, and becoming the 7th hokage of the hidden leaf village.


Quaneisha Payne is a senior from Greensboro, NC, where she attends Johnson C. Smith University, where she is majoring in Political Science. She hopes to organize students into future leaders for her campus and surrounding community. She would also love to organize programs geared towards voting and other various civic engagement for students to be involved in.



Ariel Ivy Green is a senior Studio Art student at Appalachian State University. She is most interested in securing safe spaces for QTPOC on campus and in the community. Ariel is excited to practice social art as means to create understanding of the issues marginalized folk face daily at her PWI.



Lesly Vasquez was raised in Asheboro, NC and is currently a senior at Guilford College where they are majoring in English and minoring in Photography. They are a member of Integrity for Guilford, a leftist student collective dedicated to fighting for social, economic, and environmental justice both on campus and in the Greensboro community.


Deanelle Thompson is a senior, Political science and Spanish double major with a minor in Cognitive Science at UNC Chapel Hill. He is from Winston- Salem, NC and will be working with higher education accessibility and HBCUs. He hopes to collaborate with other fellows pushing for affordability, and a higher education that respects and supports black narratives because he believes that a true education is the only thing that will liberate the masses from ignorance.

Carly Springs is a senior at UNCG and ready to graduate in December! Very aware of the trauma we are all subject too, Carly hopes to spend the semester building community in the name of caring for one another.

Marcella Camara is a liberian american troublemaker, health educator, cultural organizer, doula, artist, and plantain enthusiast hailing from Durham. Since graduating from ECU with a B.S in Public Health in 2014, she’s worked on various campaigns throughout NC centering public wellness and cultural alchemy through an anti racist lens. Her vision is to use to art, culture, and wellness as tools for liberation.