Lea Campbell, a resident of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is founding President of Mississippi Rising Coalition and a passionate advocate for dismantling exploitative systems perpetuating white supremacy, heteropatriarchy and poverty. Her advocacy and community organizing work in Mississippi has focused on anti-racism and anti-poverty initiatives; dismantling the prison industrial complex; ending food apartheid in Mississippi; removal of the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag and advocating for equal civil rights protections for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Lea approaches social justice work through an intersectional lens grounded in the political analysis of the Black feminist liberation movement and is inspired by fellow Southern anti-racist activist and organizer Anne Braden who said, "As long as people of color can be written off as expendable, and therefore acceptable victims of the most extreme inequities, none of the basic injustices of our society will be addressed; they will only get worse.”
Morris Mock was born in Natchez, MS and attended North Natchez High School then Calloway High School in Jackson. He attended Jackson State University where he majored in Music. Morris is a graduate of the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute and one of the founding members of Nissan Organized Workers (NOW). He is also an illustrious member of AF&M. Morris, whose passion is labor rights and organizing, states, "There's no peace without unity!"
Laronne O. Lewis, Sr. is a native of New Orleans, LA and father of 3 young men. He has called Waveland, MS his home for 32 years now and is a 1993 graduate of Bay St Louis High School. Laronne attended MS Gulf Coast Community College where he studied Industry Maintenance and Business Administration and was a member of MGCCC football team. After college, Laronne committed to a lifestyle change and pursued a career as an all Natural Professional Bodybuilder, and he still competes in Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness Organizations. Laronne served 2 year as the Hancock County Political Chair and 2nd Vice President of the Hancock County branch of the MS NAACP, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Hancock County Boys and Girls Club. He is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Hancock County, and in his spare time, Laronne loves to mentor young men from all walks of life.
Melissa Garriga is a resident of Pascagoula, Mississippi. She has a BA in Public Relations from Tulane University. She previously served as Press Secretary for Representative Jeramey Anderson's 2018 campaign for US Congress and as Communications Director for Ours to Change Mississippi. Currently, Melissa is Communications Associate for the National Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival and sits on the steering committee of the Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition. She is also proud card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
She strongly advocates for public education, civil and human rights, workers' rights, immigrants' rights. Medicare For All, anti-imperialism, incarcerated people and socialist feminism. Melissa is strongly guided by the works of Rosa Luxembourg and her quote, "The most revolutionary thing one can do is always proclaim loudly what is happening."
Lisa Foster is a resident of Petal, MS. She is a recent graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, receiving her Masters in War & Society (History) and a minor in Race & Ethnicity. Prior to graduate school, she spent ten years in the museum field and a total of fifteen years in non-profits. She was awarded the 2017 Mississippi Historical Society’s prize for best Mississippi History Now website article as co-author of the feature story “Jefferson Davis Soldier Home – Beauvoir.” She has also worked as a research consultant for an episode of the genealogy television show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Her work and research interests include the Mississippi Homefront during the Civil War, the Confederate veteran, social welfare for Mississippi Confederates and their dependents (wartime aid and post-war pensions), and the Beauvoir Soldiers Home.
Henry Coleman is an MRC communty organizer and creative based in Hattiesburg. Henry states, "I remember what it was like growing up black in Grenada, MS. I will never forget it. I was faced with well founded, but fear driven expectations from my caregivers and aggressively othered by people that perceived me to be different from them. Certain systemic factors played heavily into a tumultuous upbringing. Home didn't feel safe. The rest of the world didn't feel safe. I want to give the opposite life to someone else. I want to ease the burden for others like me, however, whenever, and wherever I can. I want everyone to feel cared for. I want everyone to feel understood. I want everyone to know that they deserve a good life. This is a lifelong mission and with it, I receive self-actualization. I was born and raised in Mississippi. I’ve lived here for my entire life, and I care deeply what happens to it. I’m honored for the opportunity to work amongst the bright minds and noble hearts of the Mississippi Rising Coalition, and to help make our state a better place for all people to live.”
Charlotte Ciobanu is a recent Mississippi transplant from California and is the Community Ag Organizer for MRC's Hub City Mutual Aid Project. Charlotte attended the University of California, Riverside, where she double-majored in philosophy and sociology and then went on to receive her Master’s in philosophy from San Francisco State University. Her interests in social justice include: bridging the wealth gap between white and BIPOC families, food sustainability and distribution, public education, and environmental justice. In her free time, you are likely to find her in her garden with her two pit bulls and bulldog.