IMG_3154.JPG

The story of Foreword South began as so often collective action does – a conversation that lead to a calling.

The three of us – a social worker, an organizer, and a developer – only recently were thrust into the realities of doing “the work” in the trenches of Alabama’s capital city yet our experiences here were far from new. As two native Alabamians and a transplant from Georgia, we grew up fully aware of our birthplace’s deeply troubling history and the tensions that persisted even to this day. Over time, however, what we came to learn more about were the fighters – the unsung heroes whose stories were only freckled throughout our historical texts. 

Their stories had been lost and we decided the next generation of Southern change makers wouldn’t be.

Foreword South was birthed from our own experiences.

Navigating a stifling political climate while mobilizing the agents to promote progressive ideals is no easy task in the conservative hotbeds of the south. Yet, we learned everywhere we turned there were courageous leaders who were committed to the incomplete work of justice for all. We were inspired by their steadfast belief that we could truly reconcile our abhorrent racial tensions, promote and affirm inclusivity and diversity for any and every identity, and ensure young people could see a future here where their own self-expression, passions, and love can thrive freely. It’s the fuel that drove our own work and its fuel that ultimately brought Foreword South to life.

On this platform we will use the age-old tradition of storytelling to profile Southern visionaries, activists, designers, artists, and change-makers. Our aim is to paint a new picture of the Southern identity. Each foreword, simply an introduction but never the full story, will have one unifying theme: progress in the face of adversity. These are real southern stories of real southern people. This is Foreword South.

DSCF8321.JPG

our team.

Megan Skipper


Co-founder & contributor

Megan is an Alabama native and a recent graduate from Auburn University, where she studied Human Development and Family Studies. She grew up in the Mobile area before attending college in Auburn. Much to her parents’ relief, her obstinate nature and “smart mouth” turned into skills she can actually use. As a self-identified sociology nerd, she spent her college years asking the question “why?”, working in the community, and occasionally protesting when the need was there. After graduating, Megan began working at the Montgomery Education Foundation as a developer. Megan has experience in domestic violence research, youth development programs, working with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, and non-profit development. Each of these has awoken a love for people and their stories--particularly stories that are often untold. She intends to dedicate her work and free time to the South, partly because she loves the South and partly because she really hates the cold. In her free time, she prefers to bake, cuddle with her cat, write, go to bed at a reasonable hour, and enjoy the company of her friends. Find Megan on Twitter @eyebrowfeminist.

 

email megan

 

dillon nettles


Co-founder & contributor

Dillon hails from the southern Gulf coast of Alabama and is a 2015 Auburn University graduate with a degree in Political Science. At some point during his sixth grade book report on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, it became apparent that he had an appreciation for the men and women who pushed the envelope and unapologetically knocked down every wall. Upon graduation, Dillon chose to move to the Alabama’s capital city and the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement where he accepted a position as the Community Programs Director of the Montgomery Education Foundation. His organizing pivoted from campus activism to confronting the challenges of a disenfranchised community with an education system struggling to rebuild. Never one to be easily silenced, he jumped into the arena of education reform and deeply engaged with civic leaders, neighborhood association presidents, school administrators, and educators.

Dillon spends his down time being the pain in Ashley and Megan’s side, tweeting along the intersection of social justice issues and Beyoncé, and preparing to audition for the next season of Top Chef (his mantra: anything is possible). Find Dillon on Twitter @dylawn4.

email dillon →

 

ashley edwards


Co-founder & contributor

Ashley is a social worker who grew up in Conyers, Georgia and crossed state lines to settle in Montgomery, Alabama. With the strength of her ancestors, Ashley received her Bachelor of Social Work from Auburn University in 2015. Ashley currently works for The Gift of Life Foundation in Montgomery, where she does in-home parent education and case management with parents in the Montgomery area (read: plays with adorable babies).

Of all the things that keep her up at night, Ashley hopes most that communities will be able to develop and sustain support systems to ensure that those who are made vulnerable can thrive. When she’s not furiously screaming rap lyrics, she enjoys reading, crocheting, and falling asleep to white noise.

email ashley →

 
 

jana king


1 (3).png

new orleans Contributor

Jana Lael King is a Louisiana native who learned how to use a computer at a young age. Since then, her interests have expanded to include hashtag research, brewing too much coffee and arguing with fellow Southerners about social politics. Her passion for the internet stems from the way it allows people across the globe to share perspective. She’s since turned that passion into a full-time job as co-owner of Let’s Talk Nola, a content marketing agency operating out of New Orleans. With a background in writing long-form opinionated content for student media, she’s excited to help grow the Foreword South brand. Find her on Twitter as @JanaKing7 and on Instagram as @janaking_.

 

megan dunbar


DSC_0045.jpg

new orleans Contributor

Megan Lee Dunbar became a global citizen at the ripe young age of 10, and while she has been abroad several times since then, she always finds her way back to Louisiana. Her creative energy led her to write for the school paper while studying English at LSU, and then to her true calling as an editor. After a stint working as a web developer for a political nonprofit from San Francisco, Megan is back in New Orleans applying her writing and development skills as a co-owner of Let’s Talk Nola, a content marketing company. She’s no stranger to fighting uphill battles, whether with words, on mountain ranges, or pulling plastic at the local climbing gym. Documenting the battles being faced by Louisiana’s progressive young professionals is her next great adventure. Follow along with her on Twitter and Instagram as @meganleedunbar.

EMAIL MEGAN