Executive Committee Members

Beth and her wife Emily
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BETH NOBLIT

President

Beth is an accountant who specializes in personal tax and debt resolution. She is married to her college roommate with whom she shares a beautiful, gifted and loving daughter and equally awesome son in law. Years after moving away from Lawrence County, Alabama for their education and careers, Beth and Emily chose to move back to the area, motivated to serve the underrepresented community. They are both passionate advocates for human rights and believe that inclusion starts with a willingness to belong. In her free time Beth enjoys reading, writing, golfing, hiking, traveling, collecting rare bourbons and enjoying any and all of those things with a fine cigar and a friend.

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ALICIA CARPENTER

Vice President

Southeastern Diversity Project's own "drama queen," Alicia majored in theater, but her true calling is taking in "strays." From animals to humans, she has adopted more of both than her husband Rob ever expected. She often entertains friends with her quarantine baking videos and her clairvoyant abilities. Alicia loves her chosen family at Moulton First United Methodist Church, sharing her talents as part of the praise and worship team and working with youth ministries.

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Monja and her husband Chris
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MONJA PARKER

Secretary

Monja and her husband Chris share a blended family of two sons, a daughter and two grands. Having earned degrees in education from Athens State University and UAB, she has taught in the Lawrence County School System for over twenty years. When she happens to have free time, Monja enjoys and sometimes tries her hand at anything creative: poetry, writing, music, gardening, and art. However, Southeastern Diversity Project is a labor of love that feeds her passion for people from all cultures and backgrounds and allows her to advocate for causes affecting them.

Executive Board Members

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Kristina Beard

Kristina was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. at the age of 22. She has three children, ages 15, 13, and 11. As a former exchange student and then a military spouse, she has lived in Minnesota, Guam, Washington, and now calls north Alabama her home. She cares deeply about social justice issues and returned to college at the age of 36 to obtain her BSW with a graduation date of May 2022. In her limited free time, Kristina enjoys cross stitching and being a Girl Scout troop leader. Active in Girl Scouts for over eight years, she enjoys teaching a new generation of strong girls how to be independent and live their most authentic lives.

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Kimberly Fasking

Kimberly is an Alabama-based immigration attorney who focuses on helping families in danger of separation or other harms. She and her husband, Greg, have six children and one grandchild, and the family recently relocated to Decatur from Mountain Brook, where they resided 16 years after leaving the Chicago area, where she was born and raised.  Kim earned her B.Phil in anthropology from Northwestern University and her JD from Cumberland School of Law. In her work as an attorney, Kim has devoted extensive pro-bono hours to helping asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, and she has been engaged to speak on immigration and border issues for various organizations, as well as for purposes of Continuing Legal Education credits for her colleagues.  Kim helped found and was the chair of the Mountain Brook Democrats. Her youngest three children currently attend the first LGBTQ+ affirming school in Alabama as members of its inaugural class, and where she serves as president of the parent-teacher ally organization. Kim continues to advocate every single day for human and civil rights and to pursue justice for all.

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Laurie Fraser

Laurie lives in Madison, Alabama and is a mother of two sons. She recently retired after more than 38 years of Army civilian service. Her most recent experience was as the Associate Director of Guidance, Sensors, and Electronics for Army missile development, but she also spent many years as a technology leader in virtual battlefield prototyping and experimentation. Her eldest son, Dr. Kyle Fraser, is a neuroscience researcher in the areas of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Her youngest son, Evan, lost his battle to the disease of addiction at the age of 23 in 2017. Ms. Fraser is a charter member and vice president of Bacchus by the River. She is active in her neighborhood book club, bunco clubs, and in Pilot Club International. The mission of Pilot is to influence positive change in communities throughout the world. The focus is on serving those with brain-related diseases, disorders, and disabilities. In this coming year, Laurie will be installed as the President of the Pilot Luncheon Club of Morgan County.

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Okaeri (Oky) Hernandez

Oky is an Optometry student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He is heavily involved in politics in north Alabama, serving as the secretary of the Morgan County Democrats for the past two years. He was recently elected to the Alabama Democratic Executive Committee. Oky, who is gay, is working to form an LGBTQ+ club (Spectrum Club) at UABSO. The goal is to educate future optometrists as well as provide ocular health outreach to the LGBTQ+ community.

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Robin Higdon

Robin is a native of Morgan County. Married to her high school sweetheart for 41 years, they have three grown children. Robin graduated UAB with a B.S. in education and English. She has worked for Children's Hospital of Alabama, Calhoun College, Parents and Children Together, Cultural Care Au Pair, and is currently regional advisor for International Student Exchange. She is also co-owner of CQuest Scientific. Robin has been active with PTA at Eastwood Elementary and St. Ann Catholic School. She has been a member of Junior League of Morgan County for 31 years, where she served on the board for several years. She is a member of Krewe of Cleopatra, charter member of Krewe of Themis (New Orleans social justice), co-founder and secretary of Bacchus by the River crewe, and coordinator for Carnegie Carnival Prince and Princess candidates at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. Robin is also a volunteer writer for Moms Rising, Sunrise Movement, and Vote Forward. Currently, she is training to be a volunteer crisis counselor with the Trevor Project. Her family has hosted high school exchange students from Germany, Switzerland, Serbia, and Turkey. She enjoys international travel, whale watching, and theater. Her greatest passions are international relations, cultural diplomacy, human rights, and social justice.

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Vince Hudson

Vince is a native of Courtland, Alabama, where he was raised on a cotton farm. He graduated from Decatur High School in 1972. He attended Calhoun College and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BA in Spanish. Vince lived in Florida for 33 years. He worked with the government for 22 years in eligibility. He also worked with the special needs population for 11 years. While in Florida, Vince ran a sheltered workshop, coached, and taught employability skills training.After retirement in 2013, Vince was a big brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He is fairly fluent in Spanish. He currently lives in Weaverville, NC, but splits half of his time each month in Decatur.

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Her most recent experience was as the Associate Director of Guidance, Sensors, and Electronics for Army missile development, but she also spent many years as a technology leader in virtual battlefield prototyping and experimentation. 

 

Her eldest son, Dr. Kyle Fraser, is a neuroscience researcher in the areas of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Her youngest son, Evan, lost his battle to the disease of addiction at the age of 23 in 2017.  Ms. Fraser is a charter member and vice president of Bacchus by the River. She is active in her neighborhood book club, bunco clubs, and in Pilot Club International. The mission of Pilot is to influence positive change in communities throughout the world. The focus is on serving those with brain-related diseases, disorders, and disabilities. In this coming year, Laurie will be installed as the President of the Pilot Luncheon Club of Morgan County. 

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Glenn King

Glenn is the owner of Huntsville Hair Fairy, the first mobile hair stylist in Madison County. Prior to establishing his own business, he served on the board of the Family Law and Policy Institute, which was formed to provide Congress with feedback from the legal community with regards to family and domestic violence courts in the District. Glenn was also a volunteer for the Whitman Walker Clinic in their legal services department assisting individuals with access to public benefits such as SSDI. He currently lives in Huntsville with his fur daughter, Kiki.

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Melissa Parker

Melissa is a lifelong north Alabama resident. She completed her masters in gifted education from the University of South Alabama in 2006. Currently, she is the gifted specialist for Morgan County Schools, and also works part time for Cultural Care Au Pair as a local childcare consultant for au pairs and host families in north Alabama. Melissa has served as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout leader, and served for two years as public relations on the Morgan County Boy Scout District Committee. She earned the district leadership award for the BSA Morgan County District. Melissa has served as PTO president for two years at Danville-Neel Elementary School, as well as various committees. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys traveling, reading, photography, playing with her dog and cats, trying new restaurants, and listening to live music.

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Jake Reed

Jake is a native of north Alabama, having grown up in Lawrence County. He studied management and marketing at the University of North Alabama and Middle Tennessee State University. After more than seven years of working on the corporate side of Nashville’s restaurant scene, he came back to north Alabama and opened two successful eateries in Decatur and Huntsville. Jake retired his apron to help families in the world of real estate. Jake knows the importance of being an active member of the community and giving back. He has served on committees for the Princess Theatre, River Clay Arts Festival, Carnegie Carnival, and No Kid Hungry. He currently lives in Courtland with his partner and their dogs, Biscuit, Ollie, and Brody.

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Mila Riehl

Mila is a Decatur resident and is an Internal/Geriatric physician in Columbus, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Alabama and UAB School of Medicine. Mila began in private practice in Guntersville, and later was attending physician at Decatur-Morgan Hospital ER department, as well as various other medical facilities in Alabama and South Dakota. With over 35 years of Emergency Department practice, she has also worked as director of an accredited Vascular and Non-Invasive Cardiology lab. She is board certified in both Internal and Geriatric medicine. Mila has one son, Russell, who is a cardiologist, and one daughter, Cayla, a recent graduate of nursing school. Mila enjoys healthy cooking, Japanese gardening, cycling, archery, reading, traveling, and working with several locum tenens agencies.

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Cindy Small

Cindy is a native of New Orleans who grew up surrounded by eccentricities, glamour, and over-the-top Mardi Gras balls. She studied journalism and architecture at Tulane University. She is a writer, artist, and storyteller. After Hurricane Katrina, she landed in Decatur and spent 13 years at UAH in the political science department as assistant to the faculty. She also taught a creative writing course. In June of 2015, her colorful, exciting world came to a screeching halt with an ovarian cancer diagnosis, Cindy found that creating art was her only therapy in surviving a radical surgery. She became inspired to create New Orleans kitsch, whimsical with a twist of weird. Currently, she enjoys creating her unique kitchen witches and shoe sculptures from her Old Decatur home. She hopes each piece brings the best of laughter, good luck, and good health. Her work is found at Urban Atlas and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur.