10 to watch 2020: Ash Love
By Shavonne Walker
Local artist Ash Love bears many titles — macro social worker, faith-based organizer, activist, poet and community strategist — all of which brings her back to her passion: to make an impact on the lives of those around her.
Love, 33, has organized youth and adult art classes in Salisbury and is a proponent of mobilizing voters within the community. She was a campaign manager for former Mayor Al Heggins. She is currently working as a consultant full-time and does jobs mostly with community organizations — training, strategic planning, branding, logo and website design. She has also managed nonprofits, including the Winston-Salem Urban League. She is currently attending Wake Forest University School of Divinity.
Love had a busy 2019. In March 2019, Love, who is also a photographer, debuted a photo exhibition titled “Trust Black Women” at Mission House Church. The exhibit highlighted African-American women community leaders. In September 2019, Love published her first book of poetry and is currently working on her second.
Her “day job,” Love says, is activism, which she does through faith-based organizing in Salisbury and statewide to create interventions for communities and neighborhoods. She has been committed to concentrating on organizational development and strategy, youth advocacy, faith-based and political organizing as well as using art as a tool for justice and devising social action models for nonprofits.
Love has a bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and a master’s of social work from the University of Pittsburgh, with a concentration in community organizing and social action. The Philadelphia native moved to Salisbury in 2011 and immediately became involved in the community.
Who would play you in a movie? Amandla Stenberg or Janelle Monae
What would you want for your last meal? “Anything prepared by the hands of Black women.”
Biggest personal challenge in 2020? “Adjusting to full-time consulting, student life, creating new art and writing a new poetry book.”
Biggest personal hope for 2020? “It’s always peace, more God and more love; growth for my consulting business; more time with family; spiritual fullness.”
Who will you be watching in 2020? “Locally: Gemale Black, Al Heggins, Tonya Miller Cross, Annanora Short with Be Ready Birth Doula Services, Jarrell Imes of Jarrell’s Joyful Giving (a young man in the Salisbury community giving back to the community), Anthony Smith.”
“In other places: HOLI. Brands, a think tank, media and education production company with Holley M. Kholi-Murchison and Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison; fellow artist Vanessa German; Dr. Yaba Blay, creator of Professional Black Girl; Dr. Melva Sampson (Wake Forest School of Divinity), creator and curator of Pink Robe Chronicles; divine tech master, Shalisha Morgan, CEO of Geek In Heels, and so many more amazing Black women artists, theologians, organizers, business owners, and thinkers.”
What’s your reaction to being named as one of the “10 to Watch?” “Recently, someone reminded me of a powerful word by Alice Walker, ‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. With that, my reaction is simply, thank you.”