Tania De’Shawn Russell is a poet and teaching artist passionate about using storytelling to restore agency to marginalized communities. As AHA’s outreach and social media coordinator, she uses media to connect our vibrant community of lifelong learners to the plethora of events and grant opportunities that promote us all to be kinder and more empathetic community members.
Tania holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Berea College. Before joining AHA, Tania worked as a student chaplain and student chaplain coordinator for Berea College. As an artist, her work and workshops have been featured at the Magic City Poetry Festival, Birmingham Children’s Theatre, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Tania is the 2023 Magic City Poetry Festival Eco-Poetry Fellow: The Light Poet, where she will bring poetry workshops to the Birmingham Public Library. She also co-chairs the National Hook-Up of Black Women’s Literacy Committee. Tania believes that you have a place in the humanities.
Idrissa N. Snider, Ph.D., is committed to educating and inspiring others to excellence. Her scholarly interests lie in the areas of rhetorical criticism and womanist studies, and Idrissa is attentive to studying modes of empowerment through acts of self-defining. She has taught several African American studies and communications-themed courses at major universities and colleges throughout the state, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and was a visiting assistant professor at Samford University.
Idrissa earned her doctoral degree at Wayne State University (2019), located in Detroit, Mich., and holds a Master of Arts degree from UAB in Communications Management (2014). She received her bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in Film and Journalism (2004). Idrissa has more than 20 years of experience of working with youth and advocacy groups. She is also writer at heart and frequently writes an opinion column for The Birmingham Times. Idrissa currently serves on Prosper’s Community Connector’s Advisor Board and is active in many community projects. She has a passion for the arts and humanities and believes in the power of storytelling.
Phillip Jordan believes the humanities can connect us to our past. They can also help us better understand our neighbors today and, indeed, the wider world around us. As AHA’s communications director, he’s passionate about promoting the incredible cultural organizations we work with statewide — and highlighting the power of the humanities to create a more vibrant Alabama.
A son of the South who was raised in Georgia and Tennessee, Phillip graduated with dual degrees in journalism and history from Samford University in Birmingham. After stints at two Alabama newspapers, he transitioned to nonprofit communications and marketing, working in higher education, healthcare, and housing. Phillip is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the humanities with an emphasis in creative writing. He’s also ready to shut the laptop at any moment for a game of catch at Rickwood Field.
A longtime resident of Prattville, Graydon received a bachelor’s degree in history from Auburn University at Montgomery and a Master of Library and Information Studies degree from the University of Alabama.
Before joining AHA, Graydon worked as a student in the Reference Room at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and as operations specialist for the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, where he managed the commission’s grant program and the Alabama Bicentennial PastPort project. Graydon also spent three years working in sustainable agriculture, including farms in the rural areas of Dallas and Perry Counties in Alabama’s Black Belt.
Laura Anderson brings significant public history, museum, and nonprofit experience to her role at the Alabama Humanities Alliance. She is a graduate of the Seminar for Historical Administration, Getty NextGen Leadership Institute, and Jekyll Island Management Institute. She served as president of the Society of Alabama Archivists, a term on the national History Leadership Awards committee of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), and currently serves as Nominating Committee chair for the Alabama Historical Association. Before joining AHA, Laura worked as celebration and documentation coordinator for the Program for Rural Services and Research at the University of Alabama, followed by 15 years at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) in the positions of archivist, oral history project director, and director of special projects.
Laura’s publications include contributions to Museums in a Global Context: National Identity, International Understanding (AAM Press, 2013), Fostering Empathy Through Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and AASLH’s History News magazine, as well as Civil Rights in Birmingham (Arcadia, 2013), a book of photographs on behalf of BCRI.
An alumna of the University of Montevallo, Laura earned graduate degrees in American Studies from the University of Alabama and History from the University of West Georgia.
With significant experience in office management and nonprofit operations, Alma provides the highest quality administrative and accounting management service to the daily operations of AHA.
She did her undergraduate work in business administration at Samford University and has served in many capacities to assure that AHA operates effectively. Alma also serves as a liaison to the AHA Executive Committee and Board of Directors, as well as plans and executes all aspects of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings.
A distinguished career in journalism formed Chuck’s passion to lead the Alabama Humanities Alliance. Chuck believes in the power of storytelling and civic engagement to propel positive change. The humanities, he says, provide the vital ingredients that tell us who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Years in public radio and newspapers took Chuck around the world, but he has deep roots in Alabama (his mother from Decatur, his father from Birmingham). In 2017, he came back South from Washington, D.C., to lead and expand WBHM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate. Previously, at NPR and Atlanta-based Cox Newspapers, he served in leadership roles and as an editor and correspondent, including postings in Jerusalem and Moscow. At NPR, he shared a Murrow Award for Afghanistan war coverage and a Peabody Award for The Race Card Project, a grassroots storytelling initiative.
Chuck holds a B.A. from George Washington University and an executive leadership program certificate from Harvard Business School. He serves on several nonprofit boards and is active in Leadership Alabama (2020) and Leadership Birmingham (2018).