Holden 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 (Co-Director):

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.

Carly Springs (Triad Field Organizer): 

Carly Springs is the regional organizer for the triad. They are grateful and joyful to be part of the staff squad and to create a container for activists in the Triad. Carly enjoys reading in hammocks, spell casting, and dreaming up ways to buy land for our people.






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.








Diego Vergara Mesa       (Communications Lead):

Diego was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and has lived in North Carolina for over a decade. He is the Communication Lead at Ignite NC. He has worked alongside college students to create change in the system and culture of universities and collaborated with several movements across North Carolina.