DeeDee-750x661D’atra Jackson (Co-director):

“Dee Dee” Jackson is originally from Philadelphia and moved to Durham from Florida. She attended Cheyney University of Pennsylvania where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation and Leisure Mgmt. She went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Recreation and Sport Management from Florida International University on December 2013. Dee Dee has a track record of building base-building organizations, facilitation, and crafting training curriculum. While in Miami, she was active in an organization called Dream Defenders, founding the FIU chapter. Dee Dee has led Ignite NC’s higher education campaign for over a year and a half. Dee Dee served as the HBCU Coordinator for Ignite NC, growing its HBCU base from 4 campuses to 8. She is Co-Chair of the Black Youth Project 100: Durham chapter and a trained facilitator for the Momentum training. She is also an aspiring movement DJ, named DJ MerQueen Gangsta for the Revolution.

 HoldenHolden Cession (Co-Director) :

Holden is a southern magic maker born and raised in North Carolina. They attended UNC Greensboro and received a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies. They spend their days adding capacity to civic engagement and communication strategies within Ignite NC and other local organizations. They have contributed to local campaigns for participatory budgeting, police accountability, LGBTQ equity, and voter education. They have built collaborative training spaces that center youth, communities of color, and transgender communities. They crafted Raised in the Revolution a weekend political and cultural conference, the 3rd annual NC Trans Pride in Action convening, and the South Region Day of Action Against Police Brutality in Greensboro as a Youth & Community Coordinator with The American Friends Service Committee. They were a 2015 Greensboro Justice Fellow of the Highlander Research & Education Center and are a trained joker in Theater of the Oppressed.

Nhawndie Smith (Triad Field Organizer): 

Nhawndie is a young Black, non-binary troublemaker from Durham, NC. They are dedicated to building the power of young people and making interventions that bring us closer to liberation. This semester they are committed to transforming North Carolina into a state that recognizes its history and equitably supports those under constant criminalization and degradation.


Mary Lyons (Western Field Organizer):

Mary Lyons (she, her, hers) has been part of Ignite NC since 2015 when she came in as a fellow. She supports our fellows in Boone and Asheville and is particularly focused on building and supporting young people of color in the Appalachia.


Femi Shittu (Eastern and Triangle Field Organizer):

Femi Shittu (she, her, hers) has been part of Ignite NC since 2015 when she came into the organization as a fellow. Femi is passionate about the concerns of black migrants, transformative justice, and cultural organizing.