Asha Marie, a junior at Furman University, is deeply engaged with matters of social justice and advocacy on campus and in the Greenville community. In fact, she designed her own major in Advocacy and Justice Studies. She is especially skilled at leading and teaching others to have civil conversations about difficult topics. For example, she is a facilitator in the Dins Dialogue program, which provides interactive programming for students that promotes inclusivity and mutual understanding. In the Greenville community, she serves as Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Programming for Momentum Bike Club, a local non-profit that provides mentorship, cycling opportunities, and programming for middle school students from under-resourced neighborhoods. In this role, she helped develop and implement a curriculum that utilized art to address trauma and racial healing. These are just a few examples of her involvement and leadership on campus and in the community. Asha is an innovative changemaker and coalition builder. I look forward to the many contributions that Asha will make to the Newman Civic Fellows program, as well as the opportunity for her to collaborate with other student leaders to ensure inclusion, equity, and justice in our communities.
At the root of my advocacy is a passion for justice and a seeking of truth, community, and sense of belonging. I fell into advocacy when I petitioned to change the name of my high school (named after a confederate general making it a protected confederate monument under SC law) when I was sixteen. Continuing my education in the community that I’ve grown up in has allowed me to continue investing my energy and voice into action and dialogue for positive change. My work on my university's campus revolves heavily around diversity, equity, and inclusion. I have led campaigns to provide better resources for students of marginalized identities studying abroad, to create infrastructure that supports low-income students, to implement requirement courses that speak to diversity into our core curriculum, and more. My work in the larger community is centered around youth empowerment and supporting student advocacy by connecting them to resources and mentors. I believe strongly in the power of community and empowerment. My work seeks to push boundaries, rid of oppressive systems and structures, and give platforms to those who have been denied a voice. Above all, I do it with a deep love and hope for my community.