Highlander Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Carol Judy

Photo Credit: Humans of Central Appalachia

Highlander celebrates the life and legacy of Carol Judy, a member of our family who has transitioned early this morning.  Carol was a lifelong activist in rural Appalachia, and she was instrumental in the formations of many groups, including the Woodland Community Land Trust, MountainMade MountainWays, Fair Trade Appalachia, and Clear Fork Community Institute.

Many called Carol the “Forest Granny” because of her intimate knowledge of the land and her passion for sharing her wisdom. Carol emphasized how the land in Appalachia was not only part of culture, but also our bloodline. She illustrated that the earth around us rose from loved ones who have transitioned from life. She saw it as a duty to uplift the importance of land and the communities in our region.

When asked about what makes Appalachia special, Carol said “Freedom. Fulfillment. Connections. Interesting things. Knowledge. Good people. An ecosystem that lets me learn with it, and the potential for helping others to discover better balance. There’s a lot of healing that has to be done, and you heal best if you’re able to look at what’s going on, ” viahttp://www.humansofcentralappalachia.org/stories/2016/1/22/carol-judy

Carol has been a part of the Highlander community for a long time, even as recently as connecting with our current class of Greensboro Justice Fellows and by coming out to support an impromptu political art party.

We can all learn from Carol’s tireless work and hope to carry on her legacy by uplifting her story and fighting for the long-haul. She is now our ancestor and her impact in our region will be forever cherished.

Rest in Power, Carol.

For more info about Carol, she tells her own story for Humans of Central Appalachia http://www.humansofcentralappalachia.org/stories/2016/1/22/carol-judy. Friends of Carol have organized a paypal account, where those who are able can send financial support https://www.paypal.me/CarolJudy.

 

 

Women Coming Together for Worker Justice

Highlander has worked recently with a number of different groups organizing for worker justice. In April, we led a leadership workshop for the Tennessee Education Association to help teachers from Chattanooga and rural counties in Middle Tennessee share information about how to approach the loss of their collective bargaining rights, which the state stripped from them in 2011.

With Jobs with Justice, we’ve been putting together a timeline history of Southern women in the Labor movement, and we’ve worked with the Oak Ridge chapter to develop a workshop on the same topic. In May, we hosted the Teamster women’s, ‘We Were Not Born to Follow’ retreat, where we led a session on Highlander’s history and participated in their sessions on women’s Labor history, energizing organizing, and cultural sharing. Some of the highlights of the weekend included bagpipe playing, a skit by a labor educator about her work as a painter, and some of the women’s wonderful story about transforming and energizing their workplace by decorating it with display boards about women’s history. You can see some of these highlights for yourself in the video below:

On The Hill and Across the South: SEIRN Works for Immigrant Rights

In January, Highlander hosted and participated in a strategy session for the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN), which brought together representatives from statewide immigrant coalitions, grassroots groups, and regional partners to connect its members with campaigns around immigration reform. In addition to discussing the prospects for national immigration reform, the group focused its strategy on what to expect on the state and local levels and how its members could collaborate and support one another in those battleswhile keeping the voices and experiences of local grassroots groups central to the movement and strategy. SEIRN’s Regional Coordinator Mónica Hernández notes that the network is also working to reframe the issue of immigrant rights, “not just as a Latino issue but one that affects many refugee communities, and to tie it into a framework broader than just immigrant rights.”

This aim of connecting its own struggle to a broader movement for justice was one of the reasons SEIRN picked Highlander for its strategy session. “We felt Highlander was the most appropriate place to have the kind of conversations we needed to have about movement building beyond any particular campaign,” Hernández says. “A lot of our folks feel connected to the legacy of Highlander and the role it’s played in progressive movement building.”  And the spirit of Highlander’s philosophy and methodology energized the session when Highlander’s consultants amd long-time friends, cultural organizers Guy and Candie Carawan joined the group for a meal.  “Candie got up and addressed us,” Hernández says. “She told us how happy she was for us to be there and said, ‘I hope you do a lot of singing.’ That just inspired everybody, and we added that crucial component of singing. It provided more of a glue for people to feel like we were really building something together.”

Announcement: Zilphia Johnson Horton Cultural Organizing Residencies

Head-Roc Sonny Wink

Highlander is thrilled to announce the Cultural Organizers and Community Partners of the Zilphia Johnson Horton Cultural Organizing Project 2012-2013 Residencies. The project is named for Myles Horton’s wife Zilphia, who infused Highlander’s work with culture during the Labor Movement, steeling the resolve of striking workers through song. It brings together community organizations engaged in active, issue-based campaigns for justice with artists and cultural organizers so that they can learn from each other and work together to promote progressive policies within marginalized communities. While the cultural organizers will help their partner organizations expand the role of art and culture in their campaigns, the organizations will enrich the disciplines of their cultural organizers by giving them the opportunity to directly engage with community issues and learn from grassroots organizations.

With some residencies beginning in January and others continuing throughout the spring, the following cultural organizers and community organizations will work together for justice across Central and Southern Appalachia and the U.S. South:

Head-Roc
Head-Roc
Photo by: Sonny Wink

Recording artist Head-Roc, whose twenty years of award-winning song writing, performing, activism, and educating have earned him the title “Mayor of DC Hip Hop.”  Having established his brand of exceptional lyrical ability, outspoken social commentary, and powerful stage shows, Head-Roc performs at important activist rallies just as often as he does at traditional music venues. Head-Roc has had four solo album releases during his career, numerous group and collaborative albums, and dozens of feature appearances on national and international compilations over the years. He currently serves as the first ever Arts Ambassador for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA), and he writes Head-Roc’s Mouth, an opinion column in the Washington City Paper and in featured blogs for the Huffington Post. His videos and downloads are available at www.head-roc.com.

Head-Roc will work with Service Employees International Union Local 21 Louisiana in New Orleans. The SEIU fights for the rights of its 2.1 million members and their families by working to improve the lives of workers, create a just economy, and give workers a voice on the job. SEIU Local 21LA has fought for fair contracts for workers in its state, worked on national campaigns to raise the minimum wage, and supported allied worker rights organizations, and its recent victories include passing a tax to improve public transportation and securing a significant pay raise for Mosquito Abatement and the Constables office in Baton Rouge.

Mose Kalev
Mose Kalev

Mose Kalev is a documentary photographer working in the American rural South whose work centers around oppressed communities in rural landscapes. He attended Auburn University and is currently a graduate student at Harvard University. He is a recent finalist in Leica’s International Otto Bismarck award, and his forthcoming book, Highway of Hands, documenting an isolated rural community being established by freed slaves and the conditions they faced in the Black Belt region of Alabama, will published in the spring of 2013. His work concerning racial conflict and the multiple police shootings of young unarmed black men in south Alabama has most recently been published by Truthout.org, and he is currently completing a documentary film of these tragedies. He has worked infrequently as a miner and cattle rancher to support his education and photographic pursuits.

Mose’s residency will place him in Dothan, AL with The Ordinary People Society, which helps lower-income families and individuals in the struggle against homelessness, mass incarceration, addictions, hunger, illness, and the lack of economic resources. In 2008, T.O.P.S. was the first organization in the country to secure voting rights for ex-felons, enfranchising up to 2,500 people. It has organized around the use of deadly force and accountability for law enforcement, and more recently it has worked on racial and economic justice and the rights of impoverished people and communities of color in dealing with law enforcement. It is now focused on empowering communities to change policy and practice through multimedia art. For more information on his work, see  www.mosekalev.com.

Jardana Peacock
Jardana Peacock

Jardana Peacock is the founder of Reclaim, an organization that focuses on health and healing for a just world. Reclaim is grounded in social justice principles and operates as a hybrid between a business, offering services in Thai Yoga Massage and Yoga, and a nonprofit, offering community wellness programs in working class and poor communities. She has been an artist/organizer and an educator for over a decade. Jardana attained a Master of Arts from the University of Louisville; her thesis is titled Geographies of Mentorship: Black Women and the Civil Rights Movement, a case study of Ella Baker and Septima Clark, which focuses on the mentoring philosophies and participatory leadership styles of Black women in the Civil Rights Movement. You can find out more information about her at www.jardanapeacock.com.

Jardana will join AdvoCare in Berkeley Springs, WV. AdvoCare works to reduce crime through criminal justice reform, providing education and employment referrals to prisoners and ex-offenders and keeping them and their families informed about prison conditions and criminal legislation. AdvoCare aims to help incarcerated people and their families live the fullest lives possible and to rehabilitate individuals instead of disenfranchising them. In 2003, AdvoCare helped pass legislation permitting the use of community transitional therapeutic communities in Virginia, and it was also instrumental in starting Virginia C.U.R.E.’s Annual Family Day.

Now Accepting Applications – Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowships

The Highlander Research and Education Center is pleased to announce we are accepting applications for  the second class of the Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowship at Highlander.  Highlander was chosen, along with the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, NC, to carry on the social and economic justice legacy of the Greensboro Justice Fund (GJF) and is honored to do so.

For 30 years, GJF worked to increase the capacity of the progressive movement by supporting over 300 cutting-edge, community based organizations working for political empowerment, workers rights, environmental justice and an end to all forms of discrimination and exploitation.

The Fund was established to honor and carry on the work of César Cauce, Mike Nathan, Bill Sampson, Sandy Smith, and Jim Waller, five community organizers who were murdered in Greensboro by the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis on November 3, 1979. (see brief bios at end of this posting)

Applications/Nominations Sought

Believing in the power of and strategic need for committed and skilled organizers, the GJF at its 30th anniversary announced the donation of its assets to the Beloved Community Center and to Highlander to train, in the name of the Greensboro Justice Fund, organizers and community leaders working for fundamental economic, racial and social change. The Fund was originally created using an award from a wrongful death finding against members of the Greensboro Police Department and members of the Ku Klux Klan, the award paid for all plaintiffs by the city of Greensboro.

This year will be the second class of the Greensboro Justice Fund Fellows at Highlander and we seek applications/nominations. There will be five fellows per class in honor of the five organizers who were killed.  Applications are due October 22, 2012 by 5 pm EST.

Activities and Benefits of the Fellowship

This is a learning and relationship building fellowship. The fellowship will provide multiple opportunities and ways for learning for community action, and is meant to enhance team building among fellows to increase their perspective on community initiatives in which they are involved.

Fellows will begin their one-year fellowship by coming to Highlander for a beginning session with their class on November 30-December 2, 2012, and returning to Highlander May 28 – June 1, 2013, for a popular education and community organizing social change workshop as part of a larger group with other people. During May-June, 2013 dates, fellows will also have small group time as a class, and individual time as well.

Throughout the year, fellows will be networked to each other through conference calls and internet technologies. Through its networks and contacts, Highlander will help keep fellows abreast of other potential learning opportunities including regional and national conferences to enhance their skills and build networking relationships. Fellows will have access to Highlander’s facilities for research projects, or space and time to write, or reflection and planning.

Fellows will be supported by Highlander staff, representatives of the Greensboro Justice Fund, and members of the inaugural class. Fellows will also need to take ownership to help shape their fellowship experience and create hands on opportunities to learn from each other.

Expenses to Highlander workshops will be covered by the fellowship, and fellows will receive a $500 stipend to support their local community efforts, payable in two parts.

Eligibility Requirements

Fellows must be living and working for social justice primarily in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. One fellow each year will be from North Carolina.  Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Applicants must be available for these two activities of the Fellowship at the Highlander Center, November 30–December 2, 2012 and May 28–June 1, 2013.

To apply for the Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowship at Highlander

Fellows should submit a Statement of Interest and Intent with the support of 3 nominators who write a one page nomination/reference letter.

Statement of Interest and Intent
In your own way and your own words, please let the selection committee  know the following about you:

Your name, postal address, phone number(s) and email address.

  1. Please describe your work for justice and community organizing experience.
  2. Discuss the skills you would like to strengthen or develop and/or the things you would like to learn as a GJF Fellow at Highlander.
  3. Describe how the fellowship could help you move forward as a community organizer.
  4. What is your vision for how change happens?
  5. What would be exciting to you about being a Greensboro Justice Fund Fellow at the Highlander Center?
  6. Which of the 5 organizers for which this fellowship is named do you relate to and why?
  7. Please tell us about any additional information not yet mentioned including your paid work experience, volunteer experience or any awards or recognitions you have received (submission of current resume may suffice).

Application/Nomination Process

Applications must be received in the Highlander office by 5:00 pm eastern time, Monday, October 22, 2012. Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes the following:

  • A Statement of Interest and Intent (please see above)
  • 3 Nominator Reference Statements (Reference statements can be sent separately as long as they meet the deadline.)

Applications will be received any one of the following ways:

Mailed to Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowships at the Highlander Center
1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820

Faxed to – 865-933-3424

E-mailed to – [email protected]

Selection Process and Timeline

A small committee of representatives of the Highlander Center, Greensboro Justice Fund and the inaugural class will select the five fellows. Phone interviews may be conducted with the finalists.

Timeline:
October 22, 2012, 5 pm EST    Applications due
Nov 2, 2012                         Notification of Fellows
Nov 30 – Dec 2                   1st Session at Highlander
May 28 – Jun 1, 2013        2nd Session at Highlander
To Be Scheduled, 2013      Gathering with Fellows in 1st class

———————————————————————————————-

César Cauce was a Cuban immigrant who graduated magna cum laude from Duke University. He was a leader in the long struggle for a union for Duke Hospital Workers and organized community support for Durham chicken plant workers on strike against intolerable working conditions and low wages

Dr. Mike Nathan had been an anti-war and civil rights student activist at Duke University and had become a “people’s physician” as chief pediatrician at Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, NC. He was a leader in a movement to send aid to liberation fighters in then-apartheid Zimbabwe and protested maltreatment of hospital workers at Durham County General Hospital.

William Sampson was a student anti-war activist and president of his college student body. He studied theology at Harvard Divinity School and medicine at the University of Virginia. He left medicine to work and organize in a Greensboro Cone textile mill where he built the union and was a shoo-in for president of the local.

Sandra Smith was President of the student body at Greensboro’s Bennett College and an activist on behalf of African-American students. As leader of a union organizing drive at a Greensboro Cone Mill textile plant, she battled sexual harassment, low wages and unhealthy working conditions.

Dr. James Michael Waller had lent his expertise in medicine to poor people in need. He had trained at the Lincoln Hospital Collective in New York City, had flown to Wounded Knee to aid American Indian Movement activists under siege from the FBI, and had organized Black lung screenings in North Carolina textile mills. He left medicine to work and organize in a rural Cone Mills textile plant where he had led a successful strike and had been elected president of this union.

Year End Greetings & Gratitudes and An Action Alert

Greetings & Gratitudes

The Highlander Center expresses our deepest appreciation to our many friends across the South, country and world. We wish you peace, joy and health in this new year of work for justice.

Your generosity of resources, time and talent made so much great work possible this year, the highlights and summaries of which you can see on our blog, here.

A resounding THANK YOU!!!

If you have not given yet there is still time and new donors double their gift! Please support the work of Highlander by donating securely here.

Action(s) Alert

Let’s Build a U.S. for All of Us: No Room for Racism, www.usforallofus.org, is a national call to action and a growing network of white people taking responsibility to do our work to counter the racism we see, hear and feel in strategies and tactics of the nation’s right wing and some in the media.

The initiative seeks to build inclusive and just democracy to strengthen the United States’ capacity to operate from a place of love, equity and justice and engage other white people across the country in publicly standing against the heightened and ongoing racism taking place nationally.

As the right once again mobilizes white people through fear, race-baiting, and white supremacy, we see a national anti-racist strategy grounded in vision of a racial and economic justice and solidarity with people of color led movements as a critical contribution. We believe that this effort, working locally, regionally and nationally can make a significant contribution towards our goals of collective liberation and a more just and inclusive democracy in this country.

We hope you will get involved and help spread the word! We ask you go to the website www.usforallofus.org to sign the collective statement and check out actions you can take to get involved in your community and with this network. People of all races and cultures who support this effort are invited to sign.

As we have developed this effort, white people involved have reached out to organizers of color in our communities and organizations and have gotten strong feedback that this initiative is needed as well as important suggestions about strategy and messaging.  We continue to welcome feedback about how this effort can strengthen multi-racial efforts for justice.

The Highlander Center has played a leading role in this effort, in collaboration with people and groups all over the country. Please note those organizations and people in the About section on www.usforallofus.org/about .

Let’s Build A U.S. for All of Us – isn’t it about time?

Year End Greetings & Gratitudes and An Action Alert

Greetings & Gratitudes

The Highlander Center expresses our deepest appreciation to our many friends across the South, country and world. We wish you peace, joy and health in this new year of work for justice.

Your generosity of resources, time and talent made so much great work possible this year, the highlights and summaries of which you can see on our blog, here.

A resounding THANK YOU!!!

If you have not given yet there is still time and new donors double their gift! Please support the work of Highlander by donating securely here.

Action(s) Alert

Let’s Build a U.S. for All of Us: No Room for Racism, www.usforallofus.org, is a national call to action and a growing network of white people taking responsibility to do our work to counter the racism we see, hear and feel in strategies and tactics of the nation’s right wing and some in the media.

The initiative seeks to build inclusive and just democracy to strengthen the United States’ capacity to operate from a place of love, equity and justice and engage other white people across the country in publicly standing against the heightened and ongoing racism taking place nationally.

As the right once again mobilizes white people through fear, race-baiting, and white supremacy, we see a national anti-racist strategy grounded in vision of a racial and economic justice and solidarity with people of color led movements as a critical contribution. We believe that this effort, working locally, regionally and nationally can make a significant contribution towards our goals of collective liberation and a more just and inclusive democracy in this country.

We hope you will get involved and help spread the word! We ask you go to the website www.usforallofus.org to sign the collective statement and check out actions you can take to get involved in your community and with this network. People of all races and cultures who support this effort are invited to sign.

As we have developed this effort, white people involved have reached out to organizers of color in our communities and organizations and have gotten strong feedback that this initiative is needed as well as important suggestions about strategy and messaging.  We continue to welcome feedback about how this effort can strengthen multi-racial efforts for justice.

The Highlander Center has played a leading role in this effort, in collaboration with people and groups all over the country. Please note those organizations and people in the About section on www.usforallofus.org/about .

Let’s Build A U.S. for All of Us – isn’t it about time?

NASCO INSTITUTE 2009: In Our Back Yards

Defending the Environmental Commons, Ann Arbor November 6-8, 2009

Join the Highlander Center and the more than 400 co-op members, cooperative educators and representatives of democratic organizations from across the U.S. Canada, and beyond as we converge in Ann Arbor for NASCO’s (North American Students of Cooperation) Cooperative Education and Training Institute. Through workshops, discussions, panels, caucuses and film screenings we will rethink how we produce, transport and consume; share tools for sustainable practices; and create cooperative solutions to spark change “In OUR BACKYARDS.” Come join us as Highlander leads the Cooperative Leadership Track on anti-oppression and collective liberation; join others in a rural organizing workshop; and lead a popular education and organizing workshop.

Seeds of Fire Youth Leadership Camp, 2009

Seeds of Fire participants walking to Highlanders orchard
Seeds of Fire participants walking
to Highlander’s orchard.

“There is a space for all who come to Highlander” is part of an opening stanza of a new song, “A Place at Highlander,” written by Mr. Freddie Mosley, an adult ally from 2nd Chance, during the 2009 Seeds of Fire camp. Mr. Mosely drives 2 hours from Columbus to Lexington, MS to do the hard and amazing work of supporting youth and families tying to make change. This dedication to change by the young people and adult allies who attend Seeds of Fire camp and who are active in our region is the beginning of the transformation of the systems and practices which impact our communities.

From July 19-26th, 23 young people from the South and Appalachia gathered at Highlander, along with their 11 adult allies. They came from rural and urban communities in Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida to work together to understand and develop strategies and actions to change the education system and the juvenile justice system in the South.

During the first day of the camp, the group explored the history of globalization from 1490 to the present by making murals and creating skits that allowed participants to understand the connections between our current reality and the global histories of imperialism and slavery. They then moved closer in and made community maps to look at where power lies in their own communities and share this with others.

The next few days involved a youth track and an adult track. Each track explored the challenges and experiences of youth organizing and the role of adult allies. In the youth track, youth developed and led workshops about organizing, all the way from defining an issue to media to making and meeting a budget.

When we all came back together, several groups led workshops on the issues they are working on, including Restorative Justice, Peer Communication, and the DREAM Act, and others went home ready to incorporate these issues into their work.

At the end of Seeds of Fire, participants said that they felt empowered to become stronger leaders in their groups. The youth were able to make connections between their struggles and movements and form coalitions with each other. As one group said as they reflected about their experience, they left with “inspiration with SKILLS!”

We were blessed this year with an amazing Seeds of Fire Camp staff which exemplified our commitment to having a youth-led process. The Youth Track was staffed by Courtney Oats (MS), Ausheyia Cunningham (MS), Horacio “King” Leal (MS), Cassandra Barba (TN), and Catalina Nieto (TN). The Adult Ally Track was staffed by Leslie Etienne (GA) and Jamie Harrison (GA). We were also honored and grateful to our summer intern, Sarah Apt, who rocked it in every way this summer, including helping to write this article.

STAY Project Summer Institute for Appalachian Youth Meets at Highlander

The STAY Project

From June 26-29, 2009, 22 youth and young adults from Appalachia gathered in Highlander’s rocking chairs to begin coming up with a plan for how they can help to ensure that young people and adults would be able to STAY in the Appalachian, particularly the Central Appalachian region.

The STAY Project (Staying Together Appalachian Youth) moved from an idea to a group with an identity and a structure. The project – a collaboration of Appalshop Media Institute, High Rocks for Girls and Highlander Center – is a diverse regional network of young people working together to create, advocate for, and participate in safe, sustainable, engaging and inclusive communities throughout Appalachia and beyond.

For more background on the STAY Project, click here, or contact:

  • Stayproject (at) gmail.com
  • Elandria Williams at elandria (at) test.highlandercenter.org, 865-933-3443 x 244 (o) 865-973-1896 (c)