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About

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

APPOINTED STATE OFFICIAL, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, LECTURER, PROFESSOR, POLICY ANALYST, EQUITY TRANSFORMATION AGENT, SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT BUILDER, MUSICIAN, NON PROFIT AND NATIONAL THOUGHT LEADER

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The Story of La'Meshia

These are just a few descriptions attributed to La'Meshia over the span of life's work: community service and an abolitionist in the fight for human and civil rights for nations across the globe.

BACKGROUND

An Afro-Indigenous Woman, native to Turtle Island, now known as the United States of America. La'Meshia was reared deep in the protection environmental safe haven of the great Blue Ridge Mountains, nestled within the Appalachian Mountains and cradled below her people's ancient lands of the Pisgah. Now known as Pisgah National Forest. Her people were among the original tribes that made the Eastern Seaboard of Turtle Island a hidden paradise and refuge. La'Meshia has a passion for the Arts, a heart for service and the fortitude for politics. She enjoys research and being an architect of transformative solutions to abolish oppressive systems that extract from frontline communities. As a  spiritual faith leader, her love for the Creator, dedication to family and service to environmental stewardship has formed the foundation of her heart's work.

FAMILY HISTORY

Following the installation of the United States of America, La'Meshia's emancipated ancestors out of the chains of  US chattel slavery, marched from the plantations of Mississippi back home to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. There they re-established a kingdom under the law of the United States: The Kingdom of the Happy Land, making it the first US Royal Kingdom in the nation. Shortly after, Hawaii determined to do the same in enshrining their indigenous kingdom into law under the new government regime.

The Kingdom of the Happy Land was sovereign and operated as a monarch with 2 governing Kings and 1 Queen. The Kingdom was so vast, its acreage split between Tuxedo, NC and Spartanburg, SC. On this land the people farmed, using ancient techniques and healing work the Kingdom was known for a Happy Land liniment that could address ailments. This liniment was sold on the Buncombe turnpike to travelers. From this Kingdom, birthed national leaders from educators, blacksmiths, judges, pastors, midwives and many others. The Kingdom leaders often collaborated with Afro-American legends: Booker T. Washington and Mary McLeod Bethune.

Unfortunately, a storm of racism swept across the South yet again, in the form of mass lynchings and burnings of prosperous Black towns, cities, beaches, wall streets and the same attacks extended its hand to The Kingdom of the Happy Land.

Despite the land theft, the displacement of The Kingdom people rendering them refugees once again in their own land. They continued to build and care for community through mutual aid, privately owned cemeteries, law practitioners and medical care. These lessons were passed down through the generations. 

La'Meshia and her brother, Robert, received these lessons in community from their mother and grandmother, descendants of The Kingdom: "Whether you have the royal title or not, your service to your people and your faith must remain steadfast. If you have a little, then there's still enough to share."

SERVICE AND LEGACY

La'Meshia has continued on that legacy passed down to her.  As a classically trained violinist and Celtic musician, at the age of 16, she formed the idea to incorporate an Arts-based non profit to offer children in economically distressed counties music lessons. She did just that several years later as a college student alongside her brother, who was in high school. To date, they have served in this capacity for nearly a decade, taught over a thousand students and reached over 4 continents.

La'Meshia began her political service by working on her first US House of Representatives campaign at the age of 15 years old. Since then she has served a campaign strategist and advisor for races ranging from Court of Appeals, Governor, Congress to appointed officials across the US South. Additionally, La'Meshia was the co-founder of the Our Voices of Change Political Candidate Institute, funded by The Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale University. Through this institute she has graduated 2 cohorts of over 20 BIPOC women for political and community service. Several of the OVOC graduates have pursued office and/or received appointments in the state of North Carolina.

La'Meshia worked on the national scale as an environmental justice and democracy campaigner. Developing groundbreaking research on the connections between redistricting, gerrymandering and environmental justice. She co-drafted legislation: Senate Bill 673, that was co-sponsored by state legislators to address fair redistricting. It was the first legislation drafted in history to include environmental communities of interest in a redistricting pro-democracy bill. An idea that La'Meshia worked to develop and incorporate with the assistance from attorneys at the Advancement Project and Friends of the Earth US.

La'Meshia continued her work in redistricting, collaborating with state leaders from Mississippi to California to Michigan. She created the first Environmental Justice Redistricting Tour in United States history. This model of grassroots organizing and policy development in rural communities is now used in training modules across the nation. Additionally, La'Meshia worked to co-develop research and expand the Southern Coalition for Social Justice CROWD Academy, assisting in co-developing portions of the curriculum to interviewing CROWD scholars for selection. As a state leader in North Carolina, she worked with other advocates and attorneys to create the state's first BIPOC-centered redistricting training series: Code Red Redistricting. Including thought leaders and legends from the days of the Civil Rights Movement and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as facilitators.

As a leader in the non profit sector, La'Meshia joined two statewide non-profits: Deputy Director of Advance Carolina and Deputy Director of Programs at the NC Black Alliance. Through her leadership alongside the executive team and board, both organizations became multi-million dollar organizations in under 2 years. The largest to date in the history of both organizations. 

FOUNDER

La'Meshia is now the founder and principal of The Whittington & Staley Consulting Group and Nebiyah Consulting. An adjunct professor of social justice in the department of Sociology at Meredith College and a lecturer of Diversity and Environmental Justice in the College of Natural Resources at NC State University.

La'Meshia served as the founding member of Democracy Green, an environmental justice and democracy organization. The first of its kind to live in the intersection of pro-democracy reform with an environmental justice equity lens. Due to this transformative work, La'Meshia led a two-person team that coordinated over 250 water and land rescues during Hurricane Florence, developed alongside community and state leaders the Just Florence Recovery Fund that raised millions and dispersed millions of dollars worth of aid and direct support to climate impacted communities in North Carolina and Florida. She also served as the inaugural Chairwoman of the Just Florence Recovery Fund, continuing disaster relief work, led the board to investing in purchase of community owned mutual aid facilities and dispersed direct relief in the COVID-19 pandemic prior to the release of funds by the NC state government. Her leadership in collaboration with Eastern NC community leaders provided support to NC Governor Roy Cooper in developing the Office of Recovery and Resiliency and additionally supported the ideation and development of NC Rural Forward's NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network.

Thanks to the Executive Director of Democracy Green, this organization successfully joined other state leader's in filing a petition to the US EPA to stand against Chemours for contaminating the Cape Fear River with PFAS. A dangerous consortium of chemicals.

NATIONAL LEADER AND SOCIAL SCIENTIST

La'Meshia is former N.C. spokesperson on fair courts for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and a community liaison for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, she was published in the nation's first clinical guideline on PFAS testing for the CDC: Guidance on PFAS Exposure, Testing, and Clinical Follow-Up. 

TRAILBLAZER ON PFAS AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ISSUE

As a leader in Energy Justice, Environmental Justice, and Just Transition, she successfully filed and won a petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, challenging major contaminants, PFAS, in her home state of North Carolina.

La'Meshia, alongside elected officials, partners and community leaders, was the first individual to conduct a citizen led public town hall on PFAS, external to state government agencies. This townhall allowed hundreds of impacted residents to ask physicians, policy analysis and advocates about PFAS and the impacts. As an outgrowth of this work, La'Meshia joined other leaders on PFAS in planning and successful PFAS tour launch in Eastern NC with Actor Mark Ruffalo, Administrator Michael Regan (then acting NC DEQ Secretary), community members and a host of other leaders. La'Meshia was called upon to offer an instructional webinar: PFAS - A Community Crisis, for the National Governor's Association; instructing state, county and city government leaders ways in which environmental justice and PFAS mitigation can be implemented in their policy approaches. La'Meshia has acted as a thought-partner with the US EPA and White House officials on chemical contamination, environmental justice and civil rights. 

 

While there is much yet to be tackled, La'Meshia's tireless commitment to service has resulted in BIPOC, low wealth and rural communities across the US South receiving millions of dollars in aid relief and resource support. Her work and commentary have been featured on PBS NC, CSPAN, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Law, and other publications. La'Meshia serves on a host of boards and serves as an advisor to grassroots organizations.

As proven through her record, La'Meshia continues the legacy of her people.

"Whether you have the royal title or not, your service to your people and your Faith must remain steadfast. If you have a little, then there's still enough to share."

Awards

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Rachel's Network

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African American Women Freedom Fighters Honoree

Raleigh-Apex NAACP

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ABC11

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Black Women of the Triangle Honoree

No Woman, No Girl

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Our America: Green Guardians

ABC6

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Excellence in Criminology Award

Meredith College

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