For three years, Andrea Faye Hart has used her extensive experience in place-based community engagement part-time at MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, helping to design ways for the nonprofit newsroom’s mission to be reflected in its organizational practices and development. She will now take on a new role as its chief strategy officer. Her first day in this capacity is Monday.
Hart is an award-winning media-based organizer and interdisciplinary educator who believes in moving money for transformative justice. A Chicagoland native, Hart currently lives in Nashville but will relocate to Memphis in July.
“Memphis and Chicago have a lot in common. Both cities really shaped how we in the U.S. go about dismantling the status quo,” Hart said. “Both cities have tried to make the country do better. Memphis resonates with me, makes me feel at home and I’m grateful to work with people who care so much about this place.”
Hart first met MLK50’s founding editor and publisher Wendi C. Thomas in 2018 when she was working in the Mississippi Delta, sharing best practices she developed as the director of community engagement for City Bureau, the Chicago-based civic journalism lab she co-founded. When Hart moved south to pursue a master of divinity degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School, she reached out to Thomas about getting involved with MLK50. In the ensuing years, Hart saw the organization transition from an idea to a project to a full-time newsroom. She looks forward to taking part in its ongoing evolution to better serve Memphians.
“It’s exciting to see MLK50 get the recognition it deserves. The organization is doing an incredible job of changing how we talk about funding local news and showing what local journalism can do,” Hart said. “We’ve added a lot of funders and foundation partners, and we’re seeing a shift in people’s understanding of why this work is needed. I’m really honored that I get to steward this work and help ensure that we manifest our mission both internally and externally as we grow.”
Thomas had this to say about Hart and her new role:
“If I had to dream up the perfect right-hand woman to help me lead MLK50, I couldn’t dream of someone better suited. Andrea likes to say that she focuses on all of the parts of running a nonprofit that people may not talk about – and she has done that well.
“She is the perfect person to help us think creatively about how we can expand our work without compromising our mission or values.”
One of Hart’s immediate areas of focus as MLK50’s chief strategy officer will be hiring administrative and junior development employees. Interested parties should email their résumés to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hart serves as the board co-chair for Scalawag, a journalism and storytelling nonprofit that pursues justice and liberation while standing in solidarity with marginalized people and communities in the American South. She also serves as Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s first chaplain intern for the program for LGBTQ Health, providing spiritual and emotional support for patients seeking gender-affirming care within the VUMC hospital system and clinics. She’s a proud queer femme dog mama to a pit bull named Studs (as in Terkel) and has a twin sister who is three minutes younger. She loves patterned clothing and spends much of her downtime (for now) on Twitter, passionately rambling about her favorite topics.
This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by these generous donors.