Assistant Features Editor
Turning a simple Facebook status into a published Huffington Post article is no easy task, but junior economics major and Muskegon, Mich. native Ana-Shea Fann can list this among her achievements.
Titled, “Quiet Defiance,” the piece, which can be read on huffingtonpost.com, retells the story of her great uncle’s stand against racism during a time in history when defending another race was virtually unheard of.
Fann’s uncle hung the jury by refusing to agree with a guilty verdict in the case of a black man accused of killing a white man.
The man walked free and left town, and Fann’s uncle did not speak of the event until years later at a miraculous meeting.
“I thought it was a story that people needed to hear,” Fann said of her decision to transform the event from a family story into a published work.
“I wanted to emphasize the point that one person could make a difference.”
“My uncle was a simple farmer, a veteran. He didn’t seem like a hero kind of person, but for that man he was.”
In a cinematic turn of events, years later the man made an appearance at Fann’s uncle’s deathbed to thank him for the life he was allowed to live.
“Nobody had a clue who he was, and then he was like ‘This man saved my life and I am here to thank him before he goes,’” she says of the meeting. That was the first time the story would be known outside of the courtroom.
“That was not a fictional narrative. I omitted my great uncle’s name and the place where it happened as race relations in Alabama are still a big deal. I think there are still people who wouldn’t like it, so for my family’s safety I omitted those details.”
At this point in the retelling, Fann is interrupted as a class nearby ends and students pour into the room, several stopping to chat with her.
With a broad network across campus and even the United States, Fann has opened many doors for herself, including her article.
Continuing, Fann outlines the domino effect that got her article published, “It was just a Facebook post. I got a lot of hits,” she said. “Someone called somebody to read the post and I got contacted about turning it into an article. They emailed me and said ‘I like it’ and told me when it was going to be published.”
This story is important to Fann beyond the family links to it. A firm believer in free speech and an individual’s civil liberties, Fann is currently the campus coordinator in the state of Alabama for the organization Students for Liberty.
Currently helping organize events, providing training and informing students of internship and job opportunities, Fann is expected to receive a promotion soon.
“In the upcoming year I will be moved up to the North American Executive Board,” Fann said. Though it is not yet determined what her position there will be, it is a prestigious title nonetheless.
Not associated with a political party or figure in any way, Fann describes Students for Liberty as, “an international organization that is a nonprofit. Their entire focus is to provide resources and a forum for like-minded individuals. It is all about academics and philosophy and being the change you want to see.”
“It’s a huge opportunity. I have such a great time. I get to network with people. I help people find internships and seminars. And I get to do something I am incredibly passionate about all day, every day. My favorite part is probably the people. I get to interact with some of the most amazing people on earth daily,” Fann says enthusiastically of her involvement with Student for Liberty.
The organization meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Library, Room 133. It will also hold a passport approved special screening of “Economic Lives” on March 25th at 6 p.m. in Bibb Graves 129.
Also involved with Delta Sigma Pi, Young Americans for Liberty (under Students for Liberty) and Troy University for Campus Carry, she is concerned with maintaining the citizens’ rights and improving campus issues.
“Honestly at this point, the sky is the limit,” Fann says of her future.
“I’m considering grad school and I’m also considering just going to work. I’m moving. I don’t know where. New Orleans is the best city on the face of the planet. There are a lot of people there who are free-market oriented, and it’s just beautiful there.”
Fann notes that she would like be involved in the energy industry, finding sustainable solutions to become more environmentally-friendly.
She is also interested in helping beginning entrepreneurs with start-up businesses. “I would love to foster that, wherever I am in the world.”
To quote Fann’s own article, “Justice comes from the single hand that reaches out to grasp another.”