Greetings, Highlander family!
When we first came on staff, the team told us that summer is the most intense part of the year. As we’ve stepped back to look at where we have been, we’ve been saying to ourselves, “Were they right or what?”
Whether it was the annual Children’s Camp, the Seeds of Fire Living Legacy Tour and its trip to Texas, the steady work of the Appalachian Transition Fellowship and Economics & Governance Program and Beautiful Solutions Project, or simply hosting countless groups on the hill, we have hardly had a moment when we weren’t working with our people in movement. Be sure to read some highlights about the work in the rest of this edition of View from the Hill (to get caught up and to see what’s coming up!).
For the two of us, it’s been a season of keeping things moving and building relationships. If we weren’t working with staff, our allies in the work, or philanthropy partners to meet immediate needs or design long haul strategies, we were connecting with some of Highlander’s friends and family across the country. In May, we took a “Northeastern Tour” to visit with Highlander friends in Massachusetts, New York City, and DC. We launched our 85th Anniversary House Party series with new friends in Worcester, Massachusetts, and then returned to Boston in July for a packed-house party before visiting the Bay Area (CA) and Louisville in August. Most recently, we returned to New York City for a fantastic party, where we saw program participants from the 1940s mingling with toddlers of 21st century frontline organizers, cultural workers, and popular educators. To all who were part of those gatherings: we are humbled by your commitments to movement and to Highlander, and we can’t wait to see you again!
Of course, the 85th Anniversary Homecoming was a real success. About 400 of you came throughout the weekend from around the world; you maxed out the space for every amazing workshop; you took time to engage with the healing justice spaces and practitioners; you stayed up late around the campfire sharing stories and building relationships; and you sang your hearts out at our 85th birthday party with people from across movements and generations.
Now, the fall season has finally started to settle in. The leaves are changing color, and the days are growing shorter, so it has been tempting to think that things are going to take a rest for a moment. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from this year’s emboldened white supremacist organizing, attacks on immigrant and refugee people, man-made climate disasters, or any other assault on the spirits, bodies, and minds of our people and land, it’s that the movement is not going to sleep in this colder season-it’s just putting on sweaters. In response, Highlander is preparing for a number of organizations, front line communities, and strategic gatherings to visit Highlander throughout the winter months; and our staff are going to be holding things down all across the region. What this tells us is that the movement is most certainly alive and well and hungry to come together, and whether that’s at Highlander or out in your community, we are grateful to build movement with you.
With love & solidarity,
Ash-Lee and Allyn