Seeds of Fire
For 17 years, Highlander’s Seeds of Fire (SOF) program has impacted and connected thousands of young people (ages 13 – 17) and their allies (ages 18 and up), bringing together emerging and experienced grassroots organizers and community leaders to build collective power and influence critical policy decisions and practice shifts. We host, support and network intergenerational organizers from across the South to share about the social justice work that they do and to learn about Highlander’s methodologies. Together, they discuss the different issues in their communities, strategies to address these challenges and build relationships throughout their local community and the region.
The components of the Seeds of Fire program has included the SOF camp, mini-camps, the Living Legacy Tour, SOF Advisory Committee, Greensboro Justice Fellows, Stay Together Appalachian Youth (STAY), and Supporting Emerging Appalachian Leaders (SEAL).
Seeds of Fire: Living Legacy Tour
The Living Legacy tour emphasizes the impact of past and current Movements and inspires us to build from these lessons to impact work throughout the region. Each tour aimed to combine Highlander’s methodologies to collectively develop strategies targeting the root causes and build intergenerational, cross-issue and cross-cultural connections and networks to organize and fight state sanctioned violence against low-income communities and communities of color. The long-term goals included among others, embarking on tours of the South to connect fights, struggles, and victories of people working in the 1950s-60s on voter registration, civil rights, immigration reform, and lesbigaytrans rights to the work of young people fighting against the same injustices, in the South, today.
Develop leaders and organizers with social and political analysis that are dismantling and uprooting State sanc-tioned violence, challenging economic and governance systems and working for alternatives
Build resources for youth work in the region
Develop a participatory budgeting process for the Seeds of Fire fund that is funded by community members
Prepare young people to be part of organizations and assume leadership positions across the South
Achieve clear policy shifts in schools, local communities and all levels of government that are needed to shift public school paradigm and end the criminalization of young people of color and immigrants
Seeds of Fire Advisory Committee
The Seeds of Fire Advisory Committee is an intergenerational advisory committee to Highlander’s Seeds of Fire program. Compiled of past SOF Camp participants, the Advisory Committee aims to increase the input and direction of youth and young adults in the Seeds of Fire programs and the overall intergenerational work of the Highlander Center. The Advisory Committee also serves as staff for at least one Seeds of Fire programmatic event, determines grantees for the Seeds of Fire Fund (as money permits), and develops leadership and organizational development skills for members.
3rd Living Legacy Tour: Memphis, TN and Texas
During July 11-20 in 2017, intergenerational organizers and emerging leaders from the Deep Center (Savannah, Georgia), Power U and Dream Defenders (Miami, Florida), FIRME (San Antonio, Texas), and the Seeds of Fire Advisory Committee ventured into the 3rd Living Legacy tour. This tour was centered on sharing and exploring Black and Brown Movement history, historical violence of colonialism and white supremacy on indigenous people and culture, and community-based solutions and cultural work against state-violence, gentrification, and food insecurities.
2nd Living Legacy Tour: Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana
In the summer of 2016, young people and their adult allies embarked on the 2nd Living Legacy tour to explore and learn about past and current Movement history in different parts of the Deep South. Stops on the tour included urban and rural areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The tour connected young people with local youth and elder organizers, cultural workers and artists to visualize how social change has taken place on a local level and how local organizing influences regional gains.
1st Living Legacy Tour
The first tour on the Living Legacy Tour was a transformative and exceptional experience for young folks across the South as they traveled to powerful places where people have fought and are fighting for their human rights and dignity.