Hello! I’m Megan Cheek, and I’m beyond thrilled to be joining Alabama Appleseed as the Communications and Development Associate. I’ve long admired Appleseed’s commitment to justice and equity, and I jumped at the opportunity to join such an amazing team striving to move the needle in our state.
To tell my story, I need to introduce you to my late Aunt Sheila. She lived in South Carolina where she fought tirelessly for a better South. For more years than not, she served as president of the state’s teachers union, was heavily involved in statewide politics (ran for office twice!), and was a constant presence at the South Carolina State House. She joined hands with those who did not think, look, or act like her to make progress for her neighbors. Aunt Sheila’s strength and determination were something to behold, and she believed in fighting for change even in the face of (repeated!) defeat.
Aunt Sheila was a force and inspired me to work in the nonprofit sector with organizations striving to build opportunities for improvement. After graduating from the University of Georgia and working on campus, my husband and I moved to Washington, D.C., where we lived for 13 years. While in D.C., I had the honor of working for the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop—a community art school—in various roles including Program Director and Deputy Director for Marketing and Communications. (I’ve continued to work for the Arts Workshop for the better part of 18 years, most recently as a marketing consultant.) I also served as the Executive Director for the Washington Youth Choir, an organization that utilizes arts education and music as a vehicle to impart core values and promote higher education for D.C. youth. These experiences underlined the importance to me of investing in our communities to bring about positive and lifelong change.
Our decision to move to Alabama in 2014 to be closer to family was a catalyst for even more personal growth. Alabama’s dismal position at the bottom of almost every quality of life metric motivated me to work towards creating a more equitable state where I am raising my children. Because of this desire, I co-founded H.IV.E. Alabama in early 2017, an organization focused on educating our community on elections, candidates, and pertinent issues to our state including environmental, educational, human rights, and more. I also began consulting with local organizations in marketing, policies, procedures, and fundraising. And I became involved in Alabama politics, assisting candidates and supporting platforms that advocate for all citizens.
Progress happens when engaged citizens work together to push for the policy changes that our state so desperately needs. With all of our state’s considerable challenges, I am continuously inspired by the dedicated people committed to making it better and have hope in a brighter future. Alabama Appleseed is at the forefront of addressing critical issues and promoting systemic solutions to make a better Alabama. I’m so excited to be a part of this team and look forward to working towards equity and justice for all of our neighbors.