Community Rapid Response Fellows
Sol Pederson is a white, anti-racist queer person who has been living and organizing in Durham for the past three years. Prior to this, they were a student at UNC-Chapel Hill where they majored in Women’s & Gender Studies and fought the administration with other student organizers. Post college, they worked in sexual violence prevention and response which led them to become passionate about transformative justice models to provide healing support for survivors outside of the state. Sol is excited to work as a Community Rapid Response Fellow with SVA to develop a network of support for people experience all forms of violence and hate. They are primarily interested in using tools like language justice, healing justice, and “artivism” to build coalitions across movement silos. Outside of organizing, Sol is passionate about plants, astrology, karaoke, and baths.
Diego, he/him/his, was born in Bogotá, Colombia, but has lived most of his life in NC. He graduated from UNCG in 2017, majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, and Studio Fine Arts. He was a communications fellow at Ignite NC for Fall of 2017 and Spring of 2018. Diego is interested in the role of art in organizing/ activism/ education.
Community Labor Organizing Fellows with UE 150
Mikisa Thompson is a community-labor solidarity fellow and mother of three. She is a first generation Pan-African/Caribbean diaspora transplant, by way of Jamaica. Mikisa was raised in the 1980s in one of the most segregated, poor, yet culturally diverse areas in the world: the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. Her parents were both union members and she has a passion for workers rights, unions, and the fight against racism, sexism, and heterosexism on the workplace and in our communities. You can read a personal statement from Mikisa about why she organizes here.
Hannah is a working-class queer southerner raised in Nashville,Tennessee. She relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2003 where she pursued International Studies and Photography and Film Studies at Guilford College. In 2016 she began working with Charlotte organizers on a number of initiatives and was a supporting organizer during the Charlotte Uprising. In November of 2017 Hannah was part of a delegation to support water protectors in Standing Rock alongside other Durham and Charlotte organizers, then relocated to Durham upon her return. She has worked in various capacities with SVA for the past year, and is also a part of the organizing team for Defend Durham. She’s worked in the service industry for many years, is active in the Triangle music community as a drummer, promoter, venue staff, and bartender. Her previous job credits include woodworker, nanny, caregiver, film industry laborer, and she did stagehand work with IATSE Local 322 in Charlotte. Hannah is passionate about elevating the visibility of marginalized groups in the music scene and the labor force in the Triangle. She is thrilled to be working with the Durham Worker’s Assembly and Commission supporting the efforts to organize workers and build unions in Durham, and to learn from her community. She is a strong accomplice and ally in the fight for racial and restorative justice who is committed to supporting and lifting up oppressed workers and laborers. She believes in the collective will and power of the people and that through shared struggle we can fight to win a different future for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Asher is a recent high school graduate with a background in advocacy and music. Born and raised in Durham, Asher spent his senior year of high school leading the Riverside High School Queer-Straight Alliance and beginning work with Bull City Schools United. During this time, Asher gained experience in public speaking and event planning by hosting a Drag Show Fundraiser and running a training on educational safe spaces for the Riverside High School faculty and staff. Asher is also a singer songwriter and has been publicly performing his music since 2014. In January 2015, Asher released his first album, Dark Sheep, and is currently focused on expanding his musical abilities by collaborating with other local artists. Asher is excited to continue using his music as a platform to advocate for social change and greater equality for the LGBTQ+ community.