We believe in fostering strong leadership among our members and are building toward local governance of our regional chapters. The Statewide Leadership Team is responsible for developing and implementing statewide strategy. It is made up of the executive director and volunteer leaders from around the state. While still in development, our goal is to have representation from each regional chapter that is reflective of the diversity of our members and the state.
Founder & Executive Director
Justin has spent his life in small towns throughout Alabama. He grew up in Alexander City before attending college at the University of Montevallo, and then moving to Tallassee to start a family. Because of his own struggles living in poverty, he pursued a career in social work, earning his master’s degree from the University of Alabama.
After graduation, Justin moved to the DC area to work in social policy. There he began organizing in his Maryland community, winning campaigns to raise the minimum wage, implement paid sick leave, create public funding for local elections, and for police reform. Throughout this time, he developed a statewide network of dozens of grassroots organizers and hundreds of activists including in long neglected rural areas.
Justin returned home to his small town roots in 2017, founding Hometown Action. He believes small towns should be places where everyone can be accepted and have the opportunity to thrive. He lives in Montevallo with his three chrildren.
Organizing and Culture Director & Co-Founder
K.C. (she/they) is a daughter of west Alabama. She spent her early life in Tuscaloosa, working retail and eventually attending the University of Alabama’s New College. K.C.'s interests in health, gender, and rurality led her to study community health at Indiana University in Bloomington, where she confirmed her commitment to the flyover.
K.C. returned home to work on civic engagement in Montevallo before relocating in 2015 to the capital city for a job in sexual health. In 2017, K.C. co-founded Hometown Action, cutting her teeth in early fundraising and canvassing efforts. In June 2019, K.C. joined our staff team as Organizing and Culture Director. They spend most of their time in community with Hometown leaders and local folks working to preserve the things we love in our communities and change the things that harm us. In 2020, K.C. will continue a long family lineage of Alabama scholarship by beginning an Auburn University PhD in Interdisciplinary Earth System Science with a departmental home in Rural Sociology.
As a white Southern femme with deep family roots in Alabama, K.C. needs and wants to reckon with, trust in, embody, and wage repair and healing in their communities. She believes in bread and roses; that we all deserve not only the basics of life, but also comfort, joy, and possibility. In downtime, they enjoy being in nature, taking day trips, crafting, cooking for family, and being playful at home with their partner and animals.
Strategic Initiatives Director
Kathleen is a sustainability and political consultant with a multi-disciplinary background ranging from environmental policy to nonprofit management and digital organizing. Inspired in part by her architect father's first edition of Ian McHarg's Design With Nature, at an early age she became enthralled with investigating human effects on the environment. In 2012 she returned to her home state of Alabama to advocate for sustainable redevelopment in the wake of the April 2011 storms. Kathleen is a LEED, SITES, and EcoDistricts Accredited Professional, and volunteer leader for several Alabama environmental, community engagement and political organizations.
Kathleen got involved with Hometown Action in 2017, recognizing the organization’s ability to offer a supportive network for comprehensive, sustainable local improvement in Alabama's rural communities. As Strategic Initiatives Director, she combines strategic thinking, digital and grassroots organizing, and communications to develop specialized projects to advance Hometown Action's mission. She was elected in 2018 to represent state house district 31 (mostly Elmore County) on the State Democratic Executive Committee.
Savannah "Sav" Miles
Appalachian Region Lead Organizer
Born and raised in the Southern Appalachian foothills, Savannah “Sav” Miles (they/she) learned at an early age that there was much to love about their home. At some point, perhaps while dancing under the stars at the Foggy Hollow bluegrass festival or swinging into the swimming holes at Little River Canyon, Sav was smitten. Yet their full heart did not protect them from rural Alabama’s hurt. Growing up Sav watched loved ones wrestle with alcohol and opiate addiction, white supremacy and anti-immigrant sentiment, and job security in a shriveling economy.
Although they went up north for school, their heart never left Dixie. At Harvard College they studied Social Studies with a special focus of “Race and Class in the Rural South,” hoping to gain a holistic understanding of the sources of and solutions to social inequality in the region. After Harvard workers won two huge campaigns on campus, Sav started to see in organizing a path to progress in their own community. Their senior thesis advanced a faith-based organizing model intended to dismantle white nationalism and build working-class coalitions in Alabama, Appalachia, and all over rural America.
Days after submitting their thesis, Sav stumbled upon Hometown Action, and months later they were back in their home state turning their word into action. Through the STRIDE Postgraduate Public Service Fellowship, Sav became Hometown Action’s first full-time organizer in June of 2019. As Appalachian Region Lead Organizer, Sav strives for people-centered change in their hometown of Gadsden and all across north Alabama. In their personal time, you can usually find Sav sweating over their favorite cast iron skillet, picking their banjo, reading in their rocking chair, tending to their vegetable garden, or yelling at the Crimson Tide on TV.